This is a 20 lesson course on the final book of the Bible. Revelation’s 404 verses contain over 800 quotations, allusions, and connections to the rest of the Bible. There is no new doctrine contained in these 22 chapters, only clarification on how they will come to pass. This is the ONLY book of the Bible Jesus came down to supervise as the conclusion of God’s Revelation. Moses went up to God to get the Pentateuch; Jesus came down to Earth on Patmos to show John what to write. WHY STUDY REVELATION: 1. To GET TO KNOW JESUS better than ever before in your life. 2. To UNDERSTAND GOD’S PLANS for the world around you, and see God shaping the course of history all around you. 3. To LIVE CONFIDENTLY because you know where you came from, why you are here, and where you are headed. PENTATEUCH: serpent in Garden crushed by Virgin born Messiah; Shiloh the Ruler from Judah; Pharaoh’s magicians with demonic powers; God’s plagues He can call out on Earth; a Star from Jacob; and judgments on disobedient Israel. Job: Satan in Cosmic War with power to affect weather, disease, nations, and accuse before God’s Throne. HISTORICAL BOOKS: the power of idols; the scene of Satan and his army before God’s Throne. THE PSALMS: we see a Psalm 2 Christ ruling the Earth with a rod of iron but that never shows up in the Gospels; we also see an end of days Psalm 83 coalition attacking Israel that never did in the Bible times. THE GOSPELS: we see Jesus saying He is coming on the clouds, that there will be global plagues, death, disasters, and then every eye will see Him; judging the nations; sitting on David’s Throne; coming for His own to take them to a place prepared. But none of those ever happened. THE EPISTLES: we see the Earth dissolving in 2 Peter 3; the Lord coming just for His saints in 1 Th 4; a return with flaming fire in wrath 2 Th 1; and rescue of His own in 1 Th 4.
Welcome to our course on the Book of the Revelation that we’re going to study together for the next 20 classes from God’s word. And of course, before we start anything in God’s word, we invite Him. The Lord Himself to open our eyes.
Let’s pray together,
Father in heaven, I pray as you wrote in your word in Psalm 119:18, that you would open our eyes, that we might behold, wonderful things from your word. And I pray that you would help us not just to learn facts or be amazed at all the wonders of prophecy, but that we would learn truth that would transform us. It would change us. And that you would build through this class, a hunger inside of us that can only be satisfied by time spent, every day, looking at your word and having our souls fed. By the living and abiding word of God, we pray in Jesus name. Amen.
The Book Not From This Planet
Well, as you can see on the slide in front of you, we’re looking at Revelation and we’re looking at Revelation as a part of the Bible, which I entitled The Book That’s Not From This Planet. The scriptures are unique in the fact that God Himself came down on Mount Sinai to launch the first five books of the Bible. He actually came down and told Moses what to write. We get Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy basically launched from that beginning by God. Then we come over here to the book of Revelation and Jesus Himself came to John on Patmos so He could write the conclusion to the Bible.
So basically, the Bible is bookmarked by:
- God coming down,
- launching it,
- Jesus coming down and finishing the Bible.
It’s like no other book in the world.
This 20-lesson course on the final book of the Bible has:
- 404 verses in Revelation that we will study.
- There are over 800 quotations to all the rest of the Bible, which we’ll see in just a moment are fascinating because it connects all of these pieces into one beautiful finale.
- There is no new doctrine by the way, contained in the book of Revelation.
A lot of people say, Oh, that’s a dangerous book, all those strange things that are in there. No, everything in Revelation has already been given in the Bible. It’s just put together like a movie in the book of Revelation, but every piece of Revelation you’ll find somewhere else in the Bible.
This is the only book of the Bible Jesus came down to supervise Himself as the conclusion, Moses went up… Jesus came down.
Why we study Revelation
Well, why would we study Revelation? Three reasons.
Number one, to get to know Jesus Christ better than ever before. The book is called the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It’s not the Revelation of John. Some people say, well, I’m studying the Revelation of John. It’s not at all about John. It’s the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
You can get to know Him better through this book. There are more attributes, more descriptions of the character of Jesus Christ of exactly what He’s doing today than anywhere else in the Bible, it’s the most amazing way to get to know Jesus better.
Secondly, after getting to know Jesus better, the book of the Revelation specifically in the first verse says that it was written for us to know God’s plans. We should know God’s plans for the world around us, and then we can start seeing God shaping the course of history, all around us.
Now, every day I take a break, I pull out my phone and I read the headlines. I look at the news, but I look at the news through not only the lenses of my glasses, but through the lens of scripture. As I look through what the scripture says at the news that I read, I all of a sudden, see God unfolding His plans for this world.
Finally, the third reason, number one, get to know Jesus. Number two, understand God’s plans. Number three, if we understand Revelation, we can begin to live confidently. Why?
- Because Revelation explains where we came from.
- Revelation explains why we’re here and
- Revelation beautifully illustrates where we’re going our destiny.
To live confidently. It’s because we know where we came from, why we’re here and where we’re headed. And that’s what God teaches us for this book.
In the Pentateuch, the first part that God came down to explain to Moses, we find some descriptions of future events:
- that Jesus would be the seed of the woman, that’s a prophecy of the Virgin birth
- that there is a death angel.
Did you know God had one angel He kept in an abyss it’s called, kind of a prison, when He lets him out that one angel in one evening from sunset and before sunrise in one evening, he went through the entire land of Egypt. He entered every home. Within the home he identified who the first-born male child was in the home and killed him in his sleep. Then he stopped at the stable, outside the home and killed the firstborn of the animals. In one night in every home, except the Jewish homes that’s called Passover. The Pentateuch reveals to us prophecies about things we can hardly comprehend with our minds.
Also, the Diaspora, that’s a big theological word for the fact that God was going to cause the nation of Israel to be punished because they rejected His rule over them. That’s of course, in Leviticus and in the book of Deuteronomy. Then in the book of Job, we find out that Satan has powers that most of us don’t even realize.
- He has power over weather,
- he can send tornadoes,
- he can call down fire from heaven. We see that in Revelation. At the end of the Bible, Satan’s prophet can call down fire whenever he wants onto the earth to overwhelm the world into thinking that he is God.
- Also, Satan has power over the nations and in the book of Job, he causes a tribal group living out in the desert to arm themselves and come in and attack Job’s entire farm on all of his herdsmen, all of his ranchers and kill them. That was totally incited by Satan.
Then in the historic books, we find things such as a death angel, again, that killed 70,000 Jews in one quick sweeping motion. We find that there is another angel that killed 185,000 Syrian troops. And every time we see these events, we don’t know how to piece them together until we get to Revelation when Jesus comes and explains that this is all part of Satan, cosmic war against God’s plan, and God’s people.
Continuing, in the book of Psalms, there are three Psalms:
- Psalm 2. Jesus is ruling the whole world with a rod of iron. By the way, He doesn’t do that in the Gospels. He doesn’t do that in the Epistles. He never does that in the historic or prophetic or any of these books. When is that? It’s in the book of Revelation.
- Psalm 83 talks about a coalition of nations that attack Israel,
- Psalm 102 describes what we would call the historic event, the Holocaust.
- Ezekiel 36 to 39 says that that a coalition of Russia and Islamic nations are just going to attack Israel in the future.
- Daniel nine through 12 tells us that there’s going to be a United revived returned, Roman empire. Most likely one that is just like the historic one, one that is on both sides of the Mediterranean.
A side note. We’ll cover this in chapter 13, but did you know that. Three quarters of the ancient Roman empire. The land area today is Islamic. It’s all Muslim. Fascinating to think that the revived Roman empire very much might involve the Islamic world.
- Then we have Isaiah 13, which talks about the coming Babylon. The destruction of Babylon chapter 14 tells the origin of Satan, which exactly is, is in Revelation at the end of the Bible. In chapter 24, it’s called the little apocalypse it exactly parallels Matthew 24 and it’s in Isaiah 24. Zechariah 12 to 14, the, final destruction of Jerusalem, by the antichrist.
Then in the Gospels, we have prophecies a part of these 800 prophetic scenes that are scattered across the 1,189 chapters of the Bible. Matthew 24, Matthew 25, Mark 13, Luke 21. All of those. Describe the same event. What we would call the tribulation in chapter six, through 18 of the book of Revelation.
In the Epistles
- 1 Corinthians 3 talks about the judgment of believers.
- 1 Corinthians 15 talks about the rapture, the taking out of the world of believers.
- In 2 Corinthians 5, it’s the judgment seat of our lives, where we get our rewards.
- 1 Thessalonians 4 the rescue of the church, from the earth.
- 2 Thessalonians 1 is the second coming of Christ, when it says He comes in flaming fire, taking vengeance on those that have rejected Him.
- And then of course, 2 Peter 3, where Peter describes the end of the world. Literally He said the whole universe dissolves in is re-made, new by God.
- Then the book of Jude, the earliest of all the prophecies, Jude, tells us what Enoch in Genesis chapter 5 preached Enoch, the seventh generation, the seventh man from Adam taught that the Lord would come with 10 thousands of His saints. The second coming of Jesus Christ to take control at the height to the tribulation Revelation 19 says… All His saints are with Him. Jude tells us that Enoch in Genesis, prophesied that 10,000 sets myriads of His saints would come with Him.
Well, all of those individual pieces, those 800 quotes are combined. All the Pentateuch Job, the historic books, the Psalms, the Gospels, and the Epistles, all of them are combined into one continuous movie. What we call that is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. All of these pieces are fit together in a chronological, very visual, unfolding scene, almost like a movie script. So, what we can say is that Revelation connects, completes, and it applies all of the Bible.
Revelation is the most well-known book. I don’t think there’s a person that’s not heard of Revelation, that mysterious apocalyptic book. It’s unique because it combines the rest of the Bible. It’s also the most neglected. Unfortunately, during the reformation, the key reforming teachers of the reformation, Calvin and Luther both shied away from the book of Revelation. They talked about it, but they didn’t fully embrace it. Therefore, today it’s very neglected in many churches, but it’s the most vital book of the Bible because it’s the book that reveals Jesus Christ.
Now, listen, we could summarize Revelation by saying this, God designed the Bible, so it ends with a visit back to earth by Jesus Christ. Jesus comes to visit His church, two generations after He ascended back into heaven. God lets us see Jesus. He lets us see Him as He is in His risen glory. Remember Revelation says:
- His face is shining like the sun,
- His eyes are like fire and His hair is white, kind of like the ancient of days that we see in Daniel.
- God lets us see Jesus as the almighty King of the universe.
Just one last note, when we look back on church history, the time from the resurrection of Christ to the present those early days in church history, the first three centuries, actually 300 years after the cross. We have a lot of the sermons of those pastors, a lot of written down records of what the early church pastors taught from the Bible. There have been those who’ve given their lives to actually cataloging what books of the Bible, the early church preached about.
- They preach from the Epistles a lot,
- they love the Gospels,
- the Psalms were popular,
- they covered the prophets and the historic events and the book of Job,
- and of course the Pentateuch.
But there’s only one book of the 66 books in the Bible that you could exactly get every single verse from those sermons, because they’re actually read and quoted and talked about. One book. The only book that’s totally reproducible from the early church sermons is the book of Revelation. That has concluded for many church historians to think Revelation was the most popular book taught in the church for the first three centuries of the church. Revelation is one of the least popular books taught in churches today.
The book of the Revelation, the message of it, is vital for us… for this reason. God tells us how to live for Him in a dangerous world.
We’re going to look at this chart, what you see on that slide in front of you. We’re going to look at and understand how the early church understood the book of Revelation. In the next slide we’re looking at what is Revelation’s, most important message for believers. Now on the slide, it says How to Live for God in a Dangerous World.
Remember the early church during what is recorded in the book of Revelation was going through the darkest hour of the church. The church was:
- being hunted down,
- systematically imprisoned,
They were actually public enemy number one of the Roman empire. As you see in this chart, here’s the chronology of what is going on in the book of Revelation. I think that most of us, if we can get a picture in our mind of what a book of the Bible is about, it’ll kind of stick with us and every time we read it, we’ll kind of be able to fit it into what’s going on.
- Here’s the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus stays around for 40 days. Then He ascends into heaven.
- We have the first generation, the church from about AD 30, about AD 60 in that time period, we have all of Paul’s missionary journeys. We have the, the writing of the Gospels and the Epistles and
- we have basically to AD 90, all Peter Paul and all the rest of the apostles are martyred.
- There’s one left, John. Here’s John… one, two generations. First-generation, second generation after the cross. Here’s the apostle John captured by Rome in exile, on the Island of Patmos
- Jesus Christ who ascended in AD 30 comes down. Jesus comes down to visit. First, He visits all the churches, seven churches, and then He comes with His report to John and reports to Him.
That’s the chronology of the book of Revelation.
The book of Revelation is the final book:
- written after the Gospel and the Epistles;
- after two generations of Christians live out everything Jesus said;
- after everything the apostles said;
- after all of the church planting; and
- all the training of Peter, Paul, and the other apostles;
Jesus comes back to check how they did. Jesus looked at the health of His church. That’s what Revelation chapter 1, 2, and 3 is all about.
Now looking at the next slide, the book of the Revelation affirms for us, the incredible sermon that Paul preached. Do you remember when Paul was going on his missionary journeys, that most often he started by speaking to the Jewish proselytes and the Jewish synagogue attenders. In other words, Jews. Paul would go to synagogues. That was his normal, a starting place. So, Paul would teach there; but when he gets to Athens, he finds none in an almost completely pagan city. In Acts 17, he alters the way that he presents the gospel, and he does a public debate. Actually, it’s more of a dialogue. He’s going back and forth with them and explaining to them the gospel.
There Paul’s three-part outline of the Bible is in Acts 17:24-31. This is what he says, starting in verse 24.
- He said, first of all, I want you to know there’s a creator and He made everything. He made you and the whole universe around you. And that creator came down to earth and became a human and was killed by His creatures, but He didn’t stay in the grave.
- He Rose. And the power of the gospel is a resurrection savior. But He said He offers salvation,
- but He’s coming back to judge the world to see if they acknowledge Him as creator, accept Him as Redeemer or they’ll face Him as judge.
That’s Paul’s three-part sermon creator, Redeemer, judge, look on your slide.
That’s an outline of the whole Bible. You could see that the entire Bible is subsumed by these three.
- Genesis 1 and 2 is the creator.
- Genesis 3 all the way to Revelation 5 is the unfolding drama of redemption. Every sacrifice in the old Testament, every type or prophecy of Christ, and then Jesus Himself coming in the Gospels and then explained, preached, and presented in the Epistles.
- Finally, in Revelation 5 surrounding the throne or the redeem singing about redemption. But look what happens in Revelation six, we call it the great tribulation. That’s the judge returning.
That’s an outline of the Bible. The creator Genesis 1 and 2, the Redeemer Genesis 3 to Revelation 5. The judge returned.That teaches us something.
The creator: knowing Him means I was designed by Him, everything about me. Psalm 139 says He’s the one that wove me together in my mother’s womb. I was designed by Him. That’s my origin. That’s how I got here. Did you know everybody wonders? In the back of their mind, how did I get here? Where did I come from? Origins are a big, big pursuit, especially of the intellectual types that are trying to understand and why we’re even here. That leads to our purpose. If we got here by God, what’s our purpose in life? What is the reason that I’m here?
Well, the Bible says that our Redeemer bought us. 1 Corinthians 6, you’re bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are His.
- Redemption means my purpose in life.
- It’s a purpose, redemption driven life, that I know I was redeemed and that’s what dominates my choices.
- I want to please the one who bought me, who owns me, who died for me,
But the judge means we’re answerable to Him. That’s our destiny. He’s the one that determines our destiny.
So, Revelation explains life’s purpose that the only true and reliable answer to our origin, purpose, and destiny is God.
- Jesus is how we got here.
- Jesus is why we have any reason to live.
- Jesus holds the key to where we’re going.
I’d like to pause for just a second, because in this class you’re watching online, but actually we have students here. Right there sitting in that chair is my favorite student. My wonderful wife, Bonnie. She’s the one that has helped me in this classroom, but you see her on that slide. This is my biography on this slide.
- I was saved at age six,
- Called to ministry at age nine.
- When I was 19 years old, I was challenged, if I’m going to teach the Bible, I should understand the Bible. I was challenged to read the Bible through at least once for every year, I am old.
And by the way, this is something those of you that are taking this course for credit. This is on every exam and every quiz. How long does it take to read the Bible? Most people have never read the whole Bible. How long does it take to read the whole Bible? For a sixth grader, and I would assume most of you are older than sixth graders, for a sixth-grade student in school it takes 72 hours. Now. Let’s see. How long do you play Fortnite? How long do you watch athletic events? How long is the normal movie? How long are basketball games, soccer games, you understand what I mean? Just take, something that lasts two hours. It takes 36 of those events to read the Bible. Basically, it takes 15 minutes per day to read the whole Bible in one year. I was challenged to read the Bible through at least once for every year I was old. I’ve gotten to about 115 or 117 times right now, because I want to get ahead for when I can’t read anymore.
- A pastor for 40 years
- married for 35 plus years to my wonderful wife, Bonnie, you see in the picture
- Raised eight children
- We’ve served in 70 plus countries.
What we do is Bonnie, and I are missionaries. Now we’re actually home because of COVID-19. But, all the rest of the time, 11 months out of the year, we circulate between what you see on the slides.
- We train doctors and missionaries that work in Sub-Sahara Africa.
- I teach at a seminary in the Middle East.
- We train in Central Europe.
- We train in the British Isles.
- We also work in Asia, East Asia, South Asia, all with both frontline missionaries and next generation missionaries.
One other thing, all of our courses are right here. You can see on that slide. Probably you’re watching this course on that, channel of YouTube. It’s called DTBM online video training.
Now, let’s begin by going to Revelation chapter 1. I want to start reading in verse 1 and just help you because we’re going to go through all 404 verses, but I just want to take apart in this class, the first, verse.
We’ll survey the whole thing, but I want you to see the first verse in your Bible, your electronic Bible, maybe you have a paper Bible like mine that you like to mark up and underline, “the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants”.
There’s no other book in the Bible like this. God the father, gave God the son, this message to show us, His servants.
“Things which must shortly”… We’ll look at that in a minute. Fascinating word in Greek tachys like tachometer, that measures speed. It means Swift. That must shortly, literally swiftly take place “and He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John”.
Revelation 1, as we already prayed at the beginning of the class, you can’t understand the Bible without the Holy Spirit’s illumination. We’ve already asked Him for that. How do we understand the Bible? Look at that slide. We each need a personal biblical framework to understand the Bible.
Now let me show you what I mean. I, since I was a sixth grader, so what would I be about 11 years old or 12 years old? I have been wearing glasses. I see the world through a lens. When I look through that lens I can see, clearly, the world. Same thing is true about the Bible. This is God’s word. Every one of us have a lens through which we see God’s word. What is the proper lens to clearly see?
- It’s a biblical framework.
- It’s how we understand the Bible and
- it’s based on some choices we make. The first choice you can see on the list is that I’m an evangelist. Evangelists means that people are born lost no matter how cute the baby is, he is born a pagan, an enemy of God. In fact, Jesus is even sharper than what I just said. You know what Jesus said? You’re of your father, the devil. The lusts of your father, you will do. Jesus said all of us are born in Satan’s family. And until we’re born again, we don’t get into God’s family. That’s what evangelists is. What that means is people need to be saved. How that works out in my life. Right here in my wallet. I always pack a gospel track and then pray for an appointment to give that track to someone and share the gospel with them.
Secondly, I’m an imputationist. That’s the second part of my framework. Now, imputation, isn’t some medical procedure. It’s a spiritual transaction, which I illustrate this way.
- Here I am dead in my sins. This Bible is like a picture of all my sins weighting me down.
- Jesus Christ comes to me and convicts me of my sin.
- I’m drawn to Him by His convicting work of the Holy spirit.
- He removes my sin from me when I call upon the name of the Lord.
- And imputation means that the penalty and even the record of all my sins are gone from me and on Him. That means my sin is forever taken care of. There’s no record of my sin and heaven. I’ll never be judged for my sin, but it doesn’t end there.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says that God made Jesus, who knew no sin to become my sin. So, I could become the righteousness of God and look, the righteousness of Jesus Christ comes on me. That’s why I can be called a Saint. Now my wife was sitting out in this class. I don’t think if she describes me, she describes me as a Saint. I don’t think the eight children I raised would particularly think of me as a Saint, but what’s most important is, with Christ righteousness imputed to my life God sees us as saints.
Thirdly, I’m an inerrantist. That means I believe the Bible is inspired.
Fourthly, I’m a creationist. I believe that God created everything the way He said. I’ll show you what Moses tells us.
- Moses made two stone tablets in Exodus 20. You all know what that is. Right? The 10 commandments, there were 10 commandments.
- Four commandments directed toward God; six commandments directed toward man.
- Those 10 commandments were written by God’s finger. God’s finger, actually into the stone of those tablets wrote those 10 commandments.
- Do you know what Exodus 20 says for as in six days, God created the heavens and the earth and rested the seventh so you, you slaves who were in Egypt now going into the promised land, you should work six solar, 24 hour days and rest the seventh, the Sabbath.
- It said the way God created the universe set the pattern for the week of every day of our life.
God was a creationist, not an age day, evolutionary one but as six solar day, literal creationist. So that colors, how you look at the scriptures. God made everything in six solar days.
I’m a catastrophist you know what that means? That’s a big word for saying, I believe a Noah’s flood and that it really happened, and every inch of this planet was covered with water. You can see signs of it everywhere you go.
Also, I’m a cessationist what does that mean?
- It means that this is God’s word and it started when God launched it with Moses on Mount Sinai
- and it ended when Jesus came to visit John and led him in the recording of the message of Revelation
- and that there aren’t any extra parts of the Bible that some profit here and there that I’ve never heard of, or I wonder about has added to the scriptures.
Cessationism means you have the whole Bible. It was engineered by God, and there is no continuing biblical, flawless, and inerrant inspired Revelation.
Number six, I’m a maximalist. What does that mean? That means that anything the Bible says about science, morals, history, ethics, or anything else, the Bible says is true. It’s not that God just wants us to be moral and good generally. He specifically, the maximal means:
- He verbally
- specifically explain what He wants.
And that’s very important because we live in an age where there are so many variables, and everything is up for grabs.
And finally, the last principle is I’m a dispensationalist. So, I believe:
- in sharing the gospel and evangelism, that’s what the Bible says.
- That I’m an imputationist, is that we’re all sinners and need salvation.
- That the Bible’s inspired. God breaths out every word.
- That He created everything.
- That a flood from Noah, the catastrophe changed everything.
- That we have the complete word of God, there are no continuing Revelations.
- And that the Lord wants us to know that whatever He says about science, history, ethics, and morals is true.
Dispensationalism simply, Israel does not equal the church. You say, why does that even matter? Well, there are a lot of promises in the old Testament about God saying:
- I’m going to give you this land.
- If you do what I say, you will be rich and, and you’ll be the head of the nations.
- I will keep diseases from you.
There are a lot of people that take the promises God means specifically to Israel and they try and apply them to the church. That’s not even the bad part. You know what the bad part is. They say that God is through with Israel, that Israel could disappear today and there would be no repercussions. That’s not true. God says I’ve made an unbreakable sovereign election of Israel and I’m building my church. Two specific groups of people.
That’s why in heaven, what do you see?
- When you get to heaven, you see heaven with the foundation being the 12 apostles
- and the Gates being the 12 tribes.
- It’s the 12 of Israel and the 12 of the church merged into one.
- God’s plan, distinct, eternal for both.
That’s the framework to which I see the Bible and that’s the framework that helps me understand the Bible and I trust will help you.
This is the only book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, that’s exclusively devoted to show Jesus Christ as He is now, and forever. Look at the first four words, “the Revelation of Jesus”. That’s what Revelations about.
Also, this is the only book of the Bible, exclusively given to prepare every believer for fulfilling God’s purpose for their life. It’s what God gave to show His servants.
Next, this is the only book of the Bible that’s written to explain the future plans of God. Do you remember? I said the Bible, all the different parts of the Bible,
- the Pentateuch,
- the Psalms,
- the prophets,
- the Gospels,
- the Epistles,
All of them have prophecies in them, but Revelation connects and illustrates and completes all the books of the Bible.
“The things”, look down at your Bible at verse 1, “which must shortly take place”. By the way, shortly, Techy, means swiftly. It’s not a long drawn out thing. It’s a swift succession of events.
Now, how do we understand and interpret the Bible? The essence of what I just told you is contained in what we call the cannons or the laws or the principles of interpretation. In theology these are called hermeneutics. That’s the theological department of interpretation of the Bible. The primary interpretation of the Bible is based on the historic context. It’s based on the geographic context and it’s based on the scriptural context. All different times and places.
Remember history is that everything happened at some time. Geography is everything happens somewhere. The Bible says you need to understand history the time, geography the place, and then the scriptural where it is in the flow of the Canon or the unfolding Revelation of God. Finally, the grammatical context, that’s the words themselves. So, the first rule of textual interpretation, that means understanding the Bible, is what did God mean when He spoke to the original recipients of the word of God?
You see every part of the Bible;
- the Pentateuch was written to the Jewish people coming out of Egypt.
- The historic books were written to the nation of Israel as they went through their Kings and judges.
- The Gospels were written while Israel was an occupied nation under the Roman empire and Jesus spoke to the ethnic national people that lived in that little promised land of Israel.
- The Epistles were written by Paul travelling, the ancient Roman world, and also John and also Peter and the other apostles. It was written to a modern cosmopolitan cultural place.
All of those pieces help us to understand what God meant because His primary message is what He meant to the group that received it.
Now, remember this chart.
The book of Revelation, what did it mean? It meant that all of these pieces of the Bible were explained to the early church, that were two generations from the cross of Christ.
In this slide, you can see. The specific seven churches. See that map of Turkey, modern day Turkey. That’s the Roman province of Asia in the time of Christ and of the apostles. That area had seven cities. Actually, they follow the Meander River, the postal route of the day, it starts in Ephesus.
- Go up from Ephesus, do you see Smyrna.
- Now go a little bit up and to the right Pergamos,
- down and to the right Thyatira,
- a little more Sardis,
- a little bit more down to Philadelphia,
- then back down and to the left Laodicea and it’s parallel right across the mountains from Ephesus.
That’s where those seven churches were that we’ll see in chapter 2 and in chapter 3.
Now the last part of our, class is looking at the rest of the chapter, of chapter 1, I call the seven reminders from Jesus in Revelation. I just want to cover these with you.
The first thing that I told you earlier, is in all the scripture nothing is said for the first time in the book of Revelation. Revelation, as your slide said, is God’s book of reminders. God is reminding us of everything He already said in the Bible. The book of Revelation starts with seven previously taught doctrines that Jesus wanted to remind the church of. And I’d love to remind each of you, because this is what I think about when I think about what is Revelation. What’s the primary takeaway in application?
Number one, Revelation 1:18-20 says this message should have top priority. Now, do you see why in the early church, as I drew Revelation is the most preached about book of the Bible. Why? Because they understood where it came from… look at verse 18. “I am He who lives and was dead, and behold I’m alive forevermore. I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write these things” and send them to the church. Jesus said, this is top priority. It’s kind of like getting a FedEx delivery where the delivery man is sitting there with his electronic tablet and says, here sign, this is high urgent priority. It’s overnighted to you. That’s how important Revelation is. So, what’s the message? Number one, it’s the only book of the Bible all about Jesus.
- Now you can find types and symbols about Christ in the Pentateuch.
- You can find Job talking about His Redeemer.
- You can find David talking about the one that he was following. That was His good shepherd.
- You can find the prophets prophesying, Jesus is coming.
- You can see Jesus in the Gospels,
- but this is the only book that’s exclusively written about Jesus Christ.
Revelation is not about the apocalypse. It’s about the apokalupsis. It’s not about the destruction. It’s about the unveiling. Apocalypse is different than apokalupsis. The first word of Revelation means unveiled Jesus. It means open this book and get to know Him better than you’ve ever known Him ever before in your life.
Second lesson, Revelation 1 says which God wrote to His servants. We are slaves of God. God said a servant is someone who does the will of their master. God said we’re His servants. Jesus is our master. That goes back to redemption. Do you remember when I was showing you about redemption? We were redeemed, were bought at a price. The book of Revelation says we’re slaves. A slave does the will of another. Do you know who goes to Heaven? Jesus said those who do the will of my Father in Heaven.
Now, pause students. Do you surrender every day to do God’s will? I thought about it this morning, I woke up at 5:00 AM this morning. Pitch-black sitting on the edge of the bed before I launched off the edge of the bed and my feet hit the floor. I thought about the fact that right below me as a little target and that target is where I stand and say, Lord, you’re giving me another day to live. I want to live as your servant. Say how you live. That’s what Revelation says we should live.
- We’ve been bought.
- We are owned.
- We belong to Jesus Christ.
That’s the message. That’s the application. That’s the heart of the book of Revelation.
Number three, we’re called to keep God’s word. It says in Revelation 1:3, “blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy and keep the things which are written in them”. We’re called to keep God’s word. Revelation is the only book of the Bible that you’re promised by God to be blessed if you just read it, if you just hear it. Listening to me, quoting and reading is a blessing, but God says… What do we do with what we read in here? We keep it. Greek word tereo. Do you know how it’s used in other parts of the Bible, outside of verse 3 of Revelation, 1? It’s used for when Peter was locked in prison, it says they kept him in the prison. It’s used for Jesus being put into the tomb and sealed. He was guarded after He was buried in the garden tomb. Tereo means to be placed in a spot and held on to firmly and guarded. Do you know the truth of God and guard it? You keep it, you hold it.
Number four. Look what it says in verse 10. If you’re following along your Bible, look at Revelation 1:10. I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day. What’s the Lord’s day? Sunday. What’s the Sabbath day? Saturday. What happened? The first day of the week when Jesus rose from the dead became the Lord’s day, it became the day the church gathered. It became the day we celebrated Jesus rose and John,
- even though he was in prison,
- even though he was on an exile,
- even though he was a prisoner of the Roman empire, still stopped on Sunday, to…
in the spirit, worship and commune with God.Loving Jesus Christ based on the truth of God’s word.
Lesson number five, Revelation is for Christ church. Verse 11 says that. It says this is a letter, which He wrote to His churches in Ephesus, in Smyrna, and Pergamos. These were local geographic groups of people. Revelation was written,
- not for prophecy buffs,
- not to be argued over
- not for charts to be made,
- but for the church, that’s you and me.
Number six, Revelation 1:13 says that Jesus was standing. When John saw Jesus finally, remember, the book of Revelation starts with John hearing of voice. Like the sound of a trumpet it says in verse 9, he heard that voice like a trumpet. And when he heard that voice, John turns and looks and he sees Jesus standing around these menorahs. There were seven of them. These menorahs represent verse 20. The church. So, Jesus is walking around, between, and around seven lampstands or menorahs, a seven branched oil lamp. And John sees Jesus walking around these candelabras. Jesus said you want to know what that means? He said the lampstands are the churches. Look at the slide. Jesus Christ attention at this moment is on the church.
A lot of people say, I want to have purpose in my life. Well, why not do what’s important to Jesus Christ? What is the single most important thing in the universe to Jesus Christ? His church. Right now, all of His attention is on the church. Jesus is focused on calling from darkness to light men and women, and boys and girls around this world to become a part of His church. That’s most important to Him.
- I have to say at age nine, I made a decision to point my life, I was called to point my life toward the church and to serve the church.
- When I was older at 13, I dedicated my body as a living sacrifice went forward and camp and surrendered all because Jesus Christ attention is on His church.
Is that your attention daily or is it just one day a week? And now that we’re in home stay, you know, in isolation. A lot of people haven’t been to church for weeks, but is that where your heart is? That’s where Jesus Christ’s heart is.
The last lesson of Revelation is that there’s no guessing, there’s no confusion. Jesus Christ top priority right now, is not just the church, but here’s the last point. The health of His church. When Jesus is revealed, when John sees Him, he describes Him
- with that sash… golden sash,
- long white robe,
- the hair that’s white.
Actually, he describes Him like the High Priest is described in the old Testament. Do you know what priests were in the old Testament? They were the health inspectors.
- They’re the ones that when people had leprosy, they examined them.
- When people had other sicknesses,
- they could differentiate between clean animals, unclean animals.
- If you had anything wrong with your house mold or anything, they would come in and inspect it.
- They were totally involved with the health of the nation of Israel.
The church is Jesus Christ body. He says, I want you healthy. Jesus top priority is the health of His church.
If you belong to Jesus, He wants you to know two things. Every choice in life, either pleases Him or doesn’t. There’s no middle ground, nothing is neutral, nothing is neutral. Paul put it this way. 1 Corinthians 10:31, “whether therefore you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God”.
Only two choices.
- Pleasing God,
- not pleasing God.
That’s the message. Chapter 1 of Revelation,
Your assignment before lesson two, you need to read Revelation 1, 2, and 3. Takes about 25 minutes to read Revelation 1, 2, and 3. What we’ve seen today are seven reminders from Jesus, from Revelation 1, the most important book in the Bible that connects everything.
Let’s bow for word of prayer, Father, thank you for this class. Thank you for these students. I pray You’d bless them as they read Your word. Speak to each of our hearts, so we know what pleases You, and that’s what we seek. And what doesn’t please You and that’s what we flee from and hate. Thank you, Lord Jesus. In the name that’s above every name we pray, the name of Jesus. And all God’s people said, Amen.
Check Out All The Sermons In The Series
You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, Exploring The Book of Revelation here.
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Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.