Wednesday, 29 July 2015 10:44

The Book of Revelation 2

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In this short study I want to share some thoughts about the origin of the Book of Revelation. 
The Book begins with the words: “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw--that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” 
 
This passage is clear. The message of Revelation was transmitted to the Apostle John from the Risen Lord Jesus Christ Himself and it was written down by John so that the Church would know what was coming on the earth.
Note the important statements about the Book:
 
•It is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ (1:1-2)
 
•It is a “revelation”, that is a revealing, opening and exposing of something that would otherwise be unknown and unknowable – the future! In this passage, read with chapter 1:19 three “time factors” are mentioned. This is how we understand them:
 
“What is now” - what existed in the time when the revelation was given. This is the section speaking to the local churches and giving local solutions.
“What must soon take place” – unfolding history from that point - the processes that began at the time of the giving of the Book and continue throughout the Church age.
“What will take place later” – the distant future from John’s time and still future today - the era of the return of Jesus, the millennial reign of Christ, the final judgement and the New Jerusalem.
 
•It does not only give information but also gives instruction about what we should believe and do. “Blessed are those who hear … and take to heart what is written …” (1:3)
 
•Its main purpose is to get people (us) first to “…wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city” (22:14). That is to make sure we are saved before it is too late! Secondly to persevere, hang in there whatever happens, because deliverance is on the way.
 
There are a number of different ways in which people have interpreted Revelation. The four main approaches are:
 
•Preterist. This holds that the prophecy is all in the past. (There are a number of versions of this theory. 
•Idealist. This is the view that Revelation is a generalised picture in symbolic language of the battle throughout the ages between God and Satan - good against evil.
•Historicist. This view links the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. Daniel prophesied history from his day to the Lord’s first coming in detail and the time events after that in very broad outline. Revelation gives the period from Christ’s first coming to His second coming in more detail and the rest in broad outline.
•Futurist. The futurist interpretation tends to fit most of the Book of Revelation into a seven year period of intense tribulation at the very end of the Church Age. Many futurists believe that the Church will be removed from the world either before the seven years period begins or in the middle of that period.
 
All four of these views have something to commend them and have been held by serious and reputable Bible Teachers. As we go forward I am (of course) going to teach what I believe is the correct approach but I will be sharing it with an understanding that others also have a valid point of view. 
 
I would also like to say that it is the genius of this Book that it has helped persecuted and suffering believers of every dispensation and in all parts of the world to see their own situation in its pages and to draw comfort and strength from its message.
 

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