Archives For The Book of Revelation

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons

John’s Introduction and Vision of the Son of Man (Rev 1)
Jesus’s Letters to the Seven Churches in Asia Minor (Rev 2-3)
John Taken to Heaven and Sees the Throne Room with Four Living Beings and Twenty-Four Elders (Rev 4)

B. Text of Rev 5:1-7

“1Then I saw in the right hand of the one sitting on the throne a scroll with writing on the inside and outside that had been sealed with seven seals. 2Next I saw a strong angel who was announcing in a loud voice: ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and loosen its seals?’ 3But, no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll nor see it. 4As a result I was crying greatly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and to see it. 5One of the elders said to me: ‘Do not cry. Behold! The lion of the tribe of Judah—the root of David—has conquered. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ 6Then I saw a lamb standing as if it was slaughtered in the midst of the throne and the four living beings and in the midst of the elders. The lamb had seven horns and seven eyes which are the seven spirits God sent out to all the earth. 7The lamb came and took the scroll from the right hand of the one sitting on the throne.” (Rev 5:1-7)

The One Worthy To Open the Scroll (Rev 5:1-7)

 “John’s Vision of Heaven” by Matthias Gerung (1500-1570)

C. General Remarks about Rev 5:1-7

Revelation 5 is “one of the most decisive moments in all scripture. What John has heard is the announcement of the lion. What he then sees is the lamb. He is to hold what he has heard in his head while gazing at what he now sees; and he is to hold what he is seeing in his head as he reflects on what he has heard” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 53).

Revelation 5:6 provides “one of the most beautiful mixed metaphors in all the Bible—the lion (5:5) is a lamb! The direction of the transformation is very important; the final stage is the lamb, not the lion. The paragraph of 5:6-10 tells how the lion of Judah has conquered, not through military power (though that will come) but through paschal sacrifice.” (Osborne, Revelation, 254).

“We are still looking, through John’s eyes, at the heavenly throne room, and it is not simply one long round endless, repetitive praise. This is the throne room of God the creator, and his world is not merely a tableau, a living picture to be enjoyed. It is a project. It is going somewhere. There is work to be done.” (Wright, Revelation for Everyone, 51)

II. A SCROLL IN THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD (5:1-5)

A. A Scroll with Seven Seals (v. 1) Continue Reading…

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Summary of Past Lessons

John’s Introduction and Greeting to the Seven Churches (Rev 1)
Letters to the Seven Churches (Rev 2-3)
John Taken to Heaven To See the Twenty-Four Elders (4:1-6b)

B. Text of Rev 4:6b-11

“6bin the midst of the throne and around the throne were four living beings full of eyes in front and in back. 7The first living being was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man’s face, and the fourth was like an eagle flying through the air. 8Each one of the four living beings had six wings and were covered with eyes around and within. During the day and during the night they never stopped singing:
‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty. The one who was, is, and is still to come.’
9Whenever the living beings give glory, honor, and thanks to the one who sits on the throne (the one who lives forever and ever), 10the twenty-four elders fall down in front of the one who sits on the throne and they worship the one who lives forever and ever. These twenty-four elders lay their crowns in front of the throne saying:
11‘You are worthy—our Lord and God—to receive honor, glory, and power because you created everything. By your will everything exists and was created.’” (Rev 4:6b-11) 1

John Taken to Heaven to See 24 Elders (R

Bamberg Apocalypse Bible (AD 1000)

II. THE FOUR LIVING BEINGS (4:6b-9) Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Summary of Past Lessons

John’s Introduction and Greeting to the Seven Churches (Rev 1:1-8)
John’s Vision of the Son of Man (Rev 1:9-20)
The Letter to the Church in Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7)
The Letter to the Church in Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11)

B. Text of Rev 2:12-17

“12Write to the angel of the church in Pergamum: This is the message from the one who has the sharp double-edged sword. 13I know where you live. It is where Satan’s throne is. However, you hold on to my name and do not disown my faith in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness. He was killed among you where Satan lives. 14But, I have a few things against you. Namely, that you have people adhering to the teaching of Balaam, who taught/told Balak to throw enticement to sin before the people of Israel, namely to eat food offered to idols and to commit sexual sin. 15In this manner, you have people holding to the same teaching as the Nicolaitans. 16Therefore, repent! If not, I will come to you quickly and I will wage war against you (namely, the Nicolaitans and Balaamites) with the sword of my mouth. 17The one who has an ear must listen to what the Spirit says to the churches: I will give to the one who overcomes manna which is hidden and I will give a white amulet. On the amulet is written the new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.” (Rev 2:12-17) 1

St. Antipas of Pergamum

St. Gregory of Agrigentum and St. Antipas of Pergamum

Church of Pergamum

“Church of St. Antipas of Pergamum” by Shakko/Wikipedia

C. History and Background of the City of Pergamum

The city of Pergamum had a long history of idol and goddess worship. There were four deities the residents of Pergamum worshipped: Zeus, Athena, Dionysos, and Asklepios. Zeus was seen as the “savior-god” and Athena was seen as the “victory-bearing” goddess. Each of those were a testimony to the Greek spirit and influence. Dionysos was the god of the royal family. Asklepios was more of an animal god associated with serpents, people would feed a living serpent in the temple (Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 179). Worship of the emperor of Rome was very strong and active in Pergamum. Thomas writes, “Caesar-worship was the most intense here [Pergamum]. In other cities a Christian might be in danger on only one day a year when a pinch of incense had to be burned in worship to the emperor. In Pergamum, however, Christians were in danger every day of the year for the same reason” (Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 180).

II. JESUS ADDRESSES THE CHURCH IN PERGAMUM (2:12)

“Write to the angel of the church in Pergamum: ‘This is the message from the one who has the sharp double-edged sword.’” (Rev 2:12) 2

Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Summary of Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 2:8-11

“8Write to the angel of the church in Smyrna: This is the message from the one who is the first and the last, who was dead but now lives. 9I know about your oppression and poverty, but you are rich. I also know about the people who claim to be Jews but are not, instead they are part of the synagogue of Satan. 10Do not fear the things you are about to suffer. Look! The Devil is about to throw some of you into prison in order to tempt you and you will experience oppression for ten days. Have faith until death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11The one who has an ear must listen to what the Spirit says to the churches: ‘The one who overcomes will not be harmed by the second death.” (Rev 2:8-11) 1

John Writes to the Churches in Ephesus and Smyrna

Bamberg Apocalypse Bible: “The Letter to the Church in Ephesus and Smyrna” (AD 1,000)

C. History and Background of the City of Smyrna

Among the seven cities that John sent letters to, Smyrna is the only city that still exists today (now called Izmir which is Turkey’s third largest city with seven hundred thousand [Walvoord, Revelation, 59-60]). The city of Smyrna was about thirty-five miles north of Ephesus. Besides Ephesus, Smyrna was the wealthiest city in the area because of its seaport. It was also known for its science and learning.

Walvoord points out that the word “Smyrna” comes from the word “myrrh” which was a sweet perfume used in embalming dead bodies (Pss 45:8). It was also a holy anointing oil used in tabernacle worship in the Old Testament (Exod 30:23). It is mentioned by the bridegroom in the Song of Solomon (Song of Sol 3:6) and the heavenly bridegroom in the Psalms (Pss 45:8). The “protecting deity of Smyrna was a local adaptation of Cybele, which was known as the Sybeline Mother. Greeks identified her with Nemesis which was the Greek goddess of retributive justice. The city also created a temple to the goddess Roma (195 BC) (Osborne, Revelation, 127).

In addition to that deity worship, worship of the Roman Emperor was also very common. In AD 26 Smyrna beat out ten other cities for the honor of building a temple to honor the emperor Tiberias (Osborne, Revelation, 127). Under Domitian (AD 81-96), every year each citizen had to burn incense on Caesar’s altar in order to receive a certificate. Failure to receive a certificate meant death if someone found out. About sixty years after Domitian, the famous bishop of Smyrna, Polycarp (the disciple of John), was burned alive for refusing to call Caesar “Lord” (Osborne, Revelation, 127). Who and how the church started in Smyrna is a mystery. It could be from Paul’s three-year stay in Ephesus, which was nearby (Walvoord, Revelation, 60; Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 158-160).

II. JESUS ADDRESSES THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN SMYRNA (2:8)

“Write to the angel of the church in Smyrna: This is the message from the one who is the first and the last, who was dead but now lives.” (Rev 2:8) 2

This brief verse emphasis two aspects of Christ’s deity: eternality and resurrection.

A. Christ’s Eternality and Sovereignty
Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 1:1-8

1This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his servants what was necessary to happen soon. He sent his angel to communicate with his servant John. 2John testified about what he saw about the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3Blessed is the one who reads and those who hear and obey this message of prophesy and what is written in it. For the time is near! 4This letter is from John to the seven churches in Asia. Grace and peace to you all from the one who is, the one who was, and the one who is still to come; from the seven-fold Spirit which is in front of God’s throne; 5and from Jesus Christ who is the martyr, the faithful, the firstborn of the dead and ruler over the kings of the earth. Jesus Christ is the one who, in his love for you all, released you all from your sin by his blood. 6Jesus has made you all a kingdom of priests in God and his father. To him glory and power forever, amen.”

7Look! He is coming out of the clouds and every eye will see him including those who pierced him and every person from every nation of the earth will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!

8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God—the one who is, was, and is still to come—the Almighty! 1

John's Introduction and Greeting to the Seven Churches (Rev 1:1-8)

Bamberg Apocalypse: “John Receives His Revelation” (1803)

II. A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO JOHN’S LETTER (1:1-3)

A. The Revelation of Jesus Christ (v. 1)

“This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his servants what was necessary to happen soon. He sent his angel to communicate with his servant John.” (Rev 1:1) 2

1. Revelation from Jesus and about Jesus Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own

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) Continue Reading…

When making a chart of the book of Revelation I was surprised to see how many different animals are described throughout the book. At times John seems to see a literal animal and describes it in the book, while at other times John uses an animal as a way to described what he sees (an example is when John says he sees a “lamb” when he sees Jesus).

Here’s a brief outline of some of the animals described in the book of Revelation.

I. BEAST

Two beasts are discussed in Revelation. The first is mentioned in Rev 11. When the two witnesses complete their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the bottomless pit declares war against them, conquers them, and kills them (11:7).

Photo from the illustrated Bible, "Bamberg Apocalypse: Book with 7 Seals - The First Beast"

Illustrated Bible, “Bamberg Apocalypse: Book with 7 Seals – The First Beast”

A. Beast of the Sea

Revelation 13 reveals the most material about the two beasts of Revelation. The first beast rises up out of the sea with seven heads, ten horns, and ten crowns on its horns.

Written on each head are the names of those that blasphemed God (13:1). This beast looks like a leopard but has the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion. The dragon gives the beast his power, throne, and great authority (13:2). One head on the beast of the sea is wounded but it is healed. The whole world marvels at this beast, gives allegiance to him, and worships him (13:3-4). This beast is allowed to speak blasphemes against God and is given authority to do whatever he wants for forty-two months (13:5-6). Continue Reading…

In this post I provide a list of the numbers used in the book of Revelation because those numbers are often seen as “symbolic.” Therefore, in this post I want to show a comprehensive list of the numbers in the book of Revelation.

Symbolism and Numbers in the Book of Revelation

1/10

After the two witnesses are taken to heaven (Rev 11:11-12) a terrible earthquake destroys one-tenth of the city. In this earthquake 7,000 people die (11:13). Continue Reading…

While the Book of Life has numerous references throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, no book provides as much emphasis on the Book of Life as Revelation.

The Book of Life in the Book of Revelation

I. WRITTEN BEFORE THE WORLD WAS MADE

The Book of Life was written before the world was made (17:8), but is first mentioned in Revelation in 3:5 in Jesus’s letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. Jesus contrasts those who have soiled their clothes with evil (3:4) to those who are clothed in white. Those clothed in white will never have their names erased from the Book of Life (3:5). Jesus will announce that they are his people before the Father and his angel (3:5).

II. BELONGS TO THE LAMB

Revelation also makes it clear that the book belongs to the Lamb (13:8; 21:27).

III. DESTINY OF THOSE NOT IN THE BOOK

In the midst of the Trumpet judgements and Bowl judgements John says that the people who worship the beast are the ones who names are not written in the Book of Life (13:8). Nearing the end of Revelation, the Book of Life is one of the books opened at the Great White Throne Judgment (21:11-15). Non-believers are judged at the Great White Throne according to what they have done (which was recorded in the books). Anyone’s name that is not found in the Book of Life is thrown into the lake of fire (20:15). Lastly, the only people allowed to enter the new Jerusalem are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life (21:27).

Judgement in the book of Revelation primarily occurs through the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. Furthermore, that judgement, which is described as true and just (19:2) is directed toward unbelievers, believers, Satan, and demons. Up until this time the world has been under the dominion of Satan (Job 1:6-8; 2:1-2; Matt 4:8-9; Luke 10:18; 22:3; John 12:31; 1 Cor 11:14; 2 Cor 4:4; 1 John 5:19; 1 Peter 5:8). The judgment begins in the book of Revelation with 6:1-2 in the breaking of the first seal of the scroll.

Judgement in the Book of Revelation

I. THE MANNER AND METHOD OF THE JUDGMENT Continue Reading…