Two dates for the book of Revelation have been suggested. The strongest evidence supports the AD 95 date under the reign of Domitian (this is often held by the “futurist” view). However, the last one hundred years have seen a surge of support for the AD 65 date under the reign of Nero (this is the “preterist” or “partial preterist” view).

The Date of the Book of Revelation

I. 95 AD DURING THE REIGN OF DOMITIAN

A. Internal Evidence

There are five widely accepted late-date arguments that support John writing the book of Revelation in AD 95 while exiled to the island of Patmos by Emperor Domitian. Here are five arguments and a brief explanation of each.

1. Banishment of John to Patmos Continue Reading…

When interpreting the book of Revelation there are two important elements to remember.

  • First, Revelation is a fulfillment of the sixty-five books that came before it. There are hundreds of quotes, references, and allusions to both the Old and New Testaments in the book of Revelation. This means the reader needs to discern if Revelation is purposefully referencing a previous idea, quote, allusion, or does there just happen to be a commonality between what John writes and the previous writings in the Bible?
  • Second, an interpreting angel is sent from Jesus to help John understand what he is seeing. Examples of this interpreting angel or angels are seen in Rev 5:2, 4-6; 10:7-11; 14:13; 17:1-3, 15-18; 19:9-10; 21:9-10, 15; 22:6, 8-11. Because of this, when reading Revelation students need to constantly seek to understand what is said based on previous revelation in the Bible as well as the interpretations from the angel with John.

4 Methods of Interpretation for the Book of Revelation

“About twenty-five years ago upwards of five hundred works attempting to interpret the book of Revelation were on file in the British Museum. One man examined them all and testified that no two of them exactly agreed. These books, however, did fall into two general classes: (1) Those treating chapters 4–20 as history, and (2) those treating this portion as prophecy. Since then very many notable works on Revelation have been written and with a noticeable increase of certainty as to interpretation (note Dan. 12:9). The later expositions, almost exclusively, treat chapters 4–20 as prophecy” (Lewis Sperry Chafer, Must We Dismiss the Millennium? [Florida: Biblical Testimony League, 1921], 1).

I. HISTORICIST – A ROADMAP OF HISTORY Continue Reading…

As I introduce the book of Revelation I want to explain the type of literature and genre it is. In other words, I want to explain and define the textual design for the book of Revelation which is an “apocalypse.”

The Textual Design of the Book of Revelation

Photo Credit: “St. John the Evangelist on Patmos” by Jacopo Vignali

I. IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS Continue Reading…

This post starts a series through the book of Revelation. Before starting in Revelation 1 I want to give plenty of explanations for the authorship, textual design, interpretation, date, themes, and outlines for the book of Revelation. Today’s post looks at the evidence for and against John being the author of the book of Revelation.

The Author of the Book of Revelation

The author of the book of Revelation is the disciple of Jesus: John the apostle (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8). A brief survey of support for John’s authorship of this letter as well as counter arguments follow.

I. EVIDENCE JOHN WROTE REVELATION 
Continue Reading…

What is “grace”? Some would define it as “unmerited favor” (whatever that means!). Often we hear the word “grace” as it relates to the work Christ did on our behalf on the Cross. However, the apostle Paul used the word to describe how God appointed and entrusted Paul to do ministry. In today’s post I show how God’s grace was essential to the apostle Paul’s ministry and how it is necessary for your leadership.

I. NOT BECAUSE OF PAUL’S OWN WORK

Acts 8:1 says that, “Saul [who was later renamed Paul] was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Steven.” Later in Paul’s life in a letter to the Philippians he says, ” I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin–a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law” (Phil 3:5). It was obvious that Paul was a strong believer in YHWH, the God of Israel based on the Old Testament. He stood to persecute this new Way that had urupted and he was doing everything that he could to stop it. Yet, he was the one chosen by God to do bring the news of Jesus to the Gentiles. Paul being appointed to do the work of God had nothing to do with Paul’s own work; it had everything to do with God’s grace.

II. APPOINTMENT FROM GOD

Paul’s appointment by God for God’s work is told in Acts 9. After Paul sees Jesus appear to him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-9) God spoke to a man named Ananias about going to see Paul. God told Ananias, “But the Lord said, ‘Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel'” (Acts 9:15). Later in Paul’s ministry he affirms that his appointment for ministry was from God (Acts 26:19-20).

In Paul’s numerous letters he regularly refers to himself as

  • “a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle” (Rom 1:1).
  • “God has appointed me as the apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom 11:13).

When writing to the Corinthians Paul starts his letter in this way,

  • “This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus” (1 Cor 1:1).
  • “This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus” (2 Cor 1:1).

To the Galatians:

  • “This letter is from Paul, an apostle. I was not appointed by any group of people or any human authority, but by Jesus Christ himself and by God the Father, who raised Jesus from the dead” (Gal 1:1).

While Paul had knowledge and understanding that might have led him to be successful, Paul makes it clear in his letters that he was appointed for work by God.

III. APPOINTMENT BY GRACE

Paul makes it clear that he was appointed to do work by grace.

  • “Even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him” (Gal 1:15).
  • “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecutived his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love tht come from Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 1:12-14).

IV. WITH THE APPOINTMENT THERE WAS WORK TO BE DONE

After Paul’s appointment from God he immediately began his work. While imprisoned later in his life Paul tells King Agrippa about his ministry history, “I obeyed that vision from heaven. I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that all must repent of their sins and turn to God–and prove they have changed by the good things they do” (Acts 26:19-20).

  • “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him” (1 Tim 1:12).
  • “And God chose me to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of his Good News” (2 Tim 1:11).
  • “This letter is from Paul, a slave of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ. I have been sent to proclaim fiath to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives” (Titus 1:1).

V. GOD’S APPOINTMENT COMPELLED PAUL TO CONSTANT HUMILITY

“I have done the Lord’s work humbly and with many tears. I have endured the trials that came to me from the plots of the Jews” (Acts 20:19).

VI.   PAUL WAS ENTRUSTED TO DO THE WORK GOD GAVE HIM

“And now at just the right time he has revealed this message, which we announce to everyone. It is by the command of God our Savior that I have been entrusted with this work for him” (Titus 1:3).

VII. CONCLUSION

In a similar way we too need to be appointed for our work. That appointment probably will not be in the same form as Paul with Jesus appearing to him personally, but our own appointment is something that should be clear to us. That appointment might be someone who sees strength that we have to do something correctly. Someone might see that we have a natural gift in a certain area. Or it might be a position that God has allowed us to have within an organization.

Paul experienced suffering from the beginning of his Christian ministry. After Paul regained his sight (Acts 9:17-19) he began preaching in the synagogues in the city of Damascus (Acts 9:20). Shortly after Paul began his preaching ministry some Jews made a plan to kill him (Acts 9:17-20, 23). This persecution and suffering of Paul would become a theme for the rest of his life.

Paul's Suffering as a Leader

“Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not.* I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.” (2 Cor 11:23-27) 1

I.     PAUL’S SUFFERING WAS FROM GOD Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from the New Living Translation