An Introduction to the Book of Revelation

September 8, 2016 — Leave a comment

The book of Revelation is one of the most difficult books to interpret. I like to think of the book of Revelation like a rainbow. From earth we can look into the sky and see a rainbow, but only half of it. Yet, if we go up in a plane we can often see an entire rainbow as one big circle. Our attempts to interpret the book of Revelation are like standing on earth looking at only half of a rainbow. Our position on the earth does not allow us to see the entire rainbow. The same is true for current believers living in the church age before the Tribulation. Because believers are waiting for the events of Revelation 4-22 to start, we can only see a partial interpretation of the works. However, once the events of Revelation 4-22 begin, it will be like looking at the entire rainbow from a plane. Because of someone’s place in the Tribulation they will be able to fully understand and interpret the events of Revelation 4-22.

An Introduction to the Book of Revelation

“St. John at Patmos” by Gustave Dore

I. AUTHOR (click here)

II. AUDIENCE

Audience of the Book of Revelation

III.OCCASION

While it is tempting to look at examples within the book of Revelation about the occasion, it is important to remember that this book is a prophesy and vision about the future given from Jesus Christ to an angel, and then to John. The “earthly” focus of the current circumstances is not as transparent as other New Testament writings. However, references such as Rev 2:10 and 2:13 indicate that there was some hostility toward Christians. “Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. The devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. You will suffer for ten days. But if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life” (Rev 2:10, NLT). “I know that you live in the city where Satan has his throne, yet you have remained loyal to me. You refused to deny me even when Antipas, my faithful witness, was martyred among you there in Satan’s city” (Rev 2:13, NLT). Furthermore, these two verses also mention a future hostility that will increase. Affirmation for this interpretation for these two verses is the fact that John has already been exiled to the island of Patmos as punishment for speaking the word of God (Rev 1:9).

IV. TEXTUAL DESIGN (click here)

V. INTERPRETATION (click here)

VI. DATE WRITTEN (click here)

VI. PRIMARY MESSAGE

The Triune God takes back his world by judging Satan, demons, and unbelievers in which he establishes his reign in the new Jerusalem on the new earth.

VII. THEOLOGICAL THEMES

A. Our Triune God

B. Satanology

C. Angelology

D. Judgment

E. The Book of Life

F. Possible Symbolism

1. Numbers

2. Animals

3. Colors

4. Items for Judgment

5. Nations, Cities, and other Places

6. Miscellaneus

VIII. OUTLINE

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST (1)

  • A Brief Introduction to John’s Letter (1:1-3)
  • John’s Greeting to the Seven Churches (1:4-8)
  • John’s Vision of the Son of Man (1:9-20)

THE LETTERS OF JESUS CHRIST (2-3)

  • The Letter to the Church at Ephesus (2:1-7)
  • The Letter to the Angel of the Church in Smyrna (2:8-11)
  • The Letter to the Angle of the Church in Peragmum (2:12-17)
  • The Letter to the Angel of the Church at Thyatira (2:18-29)
  • The Letter to the Angel of the Church in Sardis (3:1-6)
  • The Letter to the Angel of the Church of Philadelphia (3:7-13)
  • The Letter to the Angel of the Church of Laodicea (3:14-22)

THE JUDGEMENT, RETURN, AND REIGN OF JESUS CHRIST (4:1-19:10)

  • John Taken to Heaven (4)
  • The One Worthy to Open the Scroll (5)
  • The Lamb Breaks the Six Seals (6)
  • God’s People Preserved (7)
  • The Lamb Breaks the Seventh Seal (8:1-5)
  • The Six Trumpets (8:6-9:21)
  • The Angel and the Small Scroll (10)
  • The Two Witnesses (11:1-14)
  • The Seventh Angel Blows His Trumpet (11:15-19)
  • The Woman and the Dragon (12)
  • The Beast of the Sea and the Beast of the Earth (13)
  • The Lamb with 144,000, the Three Angels, and the Harvest of the Earth (14)
  • The Song of Moses (15:1-4)
  • The Seven Bowels of the Seven Plagues (15:5-16:21)
  • The City of Babylon (17-18)
  • The Songs of Victory in Heaven (19:1-10)

THE RETURN AND REIGN OF CHRIST (19:11-20:15)

  • The Return of Christ (19:11-21)
  • The Reign of Christ (20:1-10)
  • The Final Judgement (20:11-15)

THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH (21-22)

  • The New Jerusalem (21:1-22:6)
  • A Summary and Reminder that Jesus Is Coming (22:7-21)

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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