Scripture Focus- Revelation 1:1-7
While exiled on the Island of Patmos, John received a vision from God and wrote about it in the late first century. The Book is called the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Four Major Views For Interpreting Revelation
Idealist View- Introduced by Origen (AD 185-254) and made prominent by Augustine (AD 354-420). According to this view, the events of Revelation do not connect to specific events in history. Represented is the struggle of the ages between good and evil.
Historicist View- Teaches that Revelation is symbolic of the course of history from the past through the end of the age. The first three chapters are viewed as seven specific periods in church history and so forth. The view rose to prominence during the Protestant Reformation but has held less influence since the beginning of the 20th century.
Preterist View- Preter means past and comes from Latin. Within preterism are full preterism and partial preterism. This perspective holds that the prophecies of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 and in Revelation were fulfilled in the first century with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Chapters 1-3 represent the seven churches in Asia Minor prior to the Jewish War in AD 66-70. Full preterists believe we are now living in the eternal state.
Futurist View- The perspective teaches the events of Revelation 4-22 will occur in the future. This is the most literal of the views and is found in a number of the ancient church fathers- Justin Martyr (AD 100-165), Irenaeus (AD 115-202), and Tertullian (AD 150-225). This is the view taken in this series.
It has been said Revelation puts end times events in context as they relate to the purpose of God for his creation; Revelation is the conclusion of the prophecies of the Bible; and Revelation is the culmination of all the books of the Bible.
Three major sections:
The things that were seen: The coming of Christ into the world, his life, death, resurrection and ascension to glory.
The things that are: The struggles and triumphs of the people of God, as seen in the messages to the seven churches in Asia Minor.
The things that will be: Judgment to come upon the world in the seals, bowls and trumpets during the tribulation; and the future triumph of Christ over the forces of evil and his final victory and the end of sin, death and darkness, and the eternal state in heaven with God.
There is a tendency when we approach Revelation to avoid it, or argue it. We will do neither but instead will seek to understand and apply it in humility. Revelation is relevant to our holiness, our hope, and the certainty of our home in heaven.
Observations about the Revelation of Jesus Christ:
The revelation is from God.
“Revelation”- Appears eighteen times in the New Testament, meaning to become visible. Luke records that Simeon praised God for the birth of Jesus describing him as a light of revelation to the Gentiles. Both Paul and Peter used the term to refer to the revelation of Jesus at His second coming. Revealed is the glory and majesty of Jesus Christ.
There has been an ongoing discussion in our nation about fake news. The problem is, what is purported as true may be fake and what is purported as fake may be true. Information is often disseminated to influence thinking and direct actions- news leaks, spin, propaganda, rumors and innuendo are prevalent.
The Word of God provides the dependable revelation, making visible to us what we need to know now and eternally.
V1 The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, v2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, whatever he saw.
God gave it to Jesus. Jesus gave it to the angel. The angel gave it to John. John gave it to the churches.
The contents of Revelation are True. Revelation was given by God which speaks to the origin and authority of it. Revelation was ultimately given to the servant John so he could testify to the word of God.
The word “testify/witness” is the same as where we get the word martyr. A witness is a bold proclamation and authentication of truth in the face of difficulties.
Revelation 19:9 These words of God are true. Revelation 21:5 Then the one seated on the throne said, look I am making everything new. He also said, write, because these words are faithful and true. Revelation 22:6 These words are faithful and true.
The contents of Revelation are Trustworthy. John would give witness to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, to whatever he saw, all that he saw. The word of God and the testimony of Jesus are not separate, they go together as a unified witness.
The revelation is focused on Jesus.
V2 the testimony of Jesus Christ
This is not only the revelation from Jesus, this is the revelation focused on Jesus. The revelation is about him. John in his writings first presented Jesus in his humility and humiliation. In the revelation, John presented Jesus in his exaltation.
The revelation focuses on Jesus in his glory and exaltation in Ch 1; then in his glory over the church in Ch 2-3. Last, Ch 4-22 tell of the second coming of Jesus, the establishment of his millennial kingdom, and his reign over eternity.
The Father, Spirit, and Son are in view in vv4-5
God the Father who is timeless, is without beginning and without end is referred to in v4 the one who is, who was, and who is to come. God the Spirit is referred to in v4 the seven spirits before his throne. In Zechariah 4:2-6 the prophet saw a golden lampstand boasting of seven lamps. Zechariah inquired about the meaning of the vision. The prophet was informed the vision is the word of God to Zerubabbel: Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty. John was familiar with the Old Testament and used this verse as an identification for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit would minister to the seven congregations to whom the prophecy is addressed.
God the Son is referred to in V5 Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Jesus is the faithful witness and the ultimate witness. He can only speak what is true and factual. His witness about life, sin, salvation, and eternity are all true.
Jesus is the firstborn from the dead- He is the first person who rose from the dead, victorious over it, never to die again. After he was crucified and buried, when he rose from the dead, he was raised never to die again. His resurrection assures ours.
Jesus is the ruler of the kings of the earth- He is absolutely sovereign over the world, because he holds the title deed to it. He is the Sovereign King and Lord who has the name that is above every name.
Jesus is the one v5 who loves us and has set us free from our sins by his blood. In Christ we were dead in our sins but now we have been made alive in him, we were shackled but now we have been set free, we were in darkness but now we are in the light, we were bound for hell but now we are bound for heaven!
Jesus is the one who has v6 made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father. There is a king, a kingdom, and in Jesus we have the privilege of being called priests in it. This is not a priesthood to do what we desire but to serve God. We have access, responsibility, and accountability.
Jesus is the one who v7 is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. More than 500 verses refer to the Second Coming. 1/25 verses in the NT refer to it. The prophecies of God point to it, and the purposes of God require it.
V7 So it is to be, is a plea for the Second Coming. Jesus will return as the Eternal King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The revelation is for our blessing.
V3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it.
Blessing is promised to those who read and keep what is in this book. There are multiple blessings promised in Revelation.
14:13 Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, so they will rest from their labors, since their works follow them.
16:15 Look, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who is alert and remains clothed so that the may not go around naked and people see his shame.
19:9 Blessed are those invited to the marriage feast of the Lamb!
20:6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! The second death has not power over them,, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.
22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.
The Eternal God has conquered sin in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is the Conquering King. We are blessed to be a part of his kingdom, and we await the final conclusion of all things and eternity with God.