Back to Basics:

INTRODUCTION: In the midst of the blitz, few people in the world believed that England would be able to hold out against the seemingly irresistible mass of the German armed forces. But Winston Churchill was certain of eventual victory. The last book in the Bible, the book of Revelation, has the same message. God's people are going to be victorious!


A. Who wrote the book?
1. John, the Apostle who wrote three epistles and a gospel account. The ancient Christian writers (Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement, Tertullian, Origen, etc.) are all agreed on the conviction that John the Apostle is the writer.

2. He had be exiled to the island of Patmos for his loyalty to Christ. 

a. Revelation 1:4, 9 _ "John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 9_ I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."
B. To whom was it written?
1. Written to the seven churches of Asia Minor, present day Turkey.

2. Revelation 1:4,11- John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.... saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in
Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea."

C. What was the circumstance of the writing of the book?
1. The church was under pressure from extreme persecution from the Roman government.
a. Revelation 2:12_13 "And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write, 'These things says He who has the sharp two_edged sword: 13_ "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.

b. As has already been stated, John was being imprisoned by the Roman authorities for his loyalty to Christ.

2. There was another threat, from internal forces, that was threatening the church as much as the outside pressure.
a. Revelation 2:14_15 "But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. "15" "Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
A. Four different ways of interpreting of Revelation traditionally.
1. Preterist - Most if not all of the book was fulfilled in the past.

2. Futurist - The things in the book are to be fulfilled sometime in the future.

3. Historical - The things in the book have been fulfilled in the life of the church in great events throughout history.

4. Spiritual - The things found are not literal but symbolize the struggle between the forces of good and evil throughout the centuries.

B. What is the proper method?
1. The key is found in the first few verses of the book.
a. Revelation 1:3 -Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

b. The things that would happen in the book of Revelation would be unfolded in the near time in the first century.

2. The futurist interpretation is built on the false premise that all the things in the book were to be fulfilled in the far future.
a. How could the time be near in the first century and really be intended for the 21st century?

b. How could something that would be fulfilled two millennia later have any comfort for those seven churches in Asia?

c. The futurist also tends to make literal those things obviously meant to be held figurative and makes figurative those things intended to be held literally.

3. The historical interpretation has the same problems.
a. It has little comfort or relevance for the very ones to whom it was written.

b. Interpreters have to constantly revise the event which are applied to any historical view toward Revelation.

4. The spiritual interpretation has the advantage of finding the great eternal lessons that Revelation teaches and does not engage in wild attempts at speculation.
a. But again it goes too far in not leaving literal those any message of comfort for those brethren to whom John was writing.
5. The preterist view seems to be the most satisfying interpretation.
a. It gives comfort and encouragement to those to whom it is written, the Christians of the first century.

b. It avoids wild speculation that accompanies the futurist view.

c. Most who hold to this position are convinced that the events, or at least the events leading up to Revelation 21, began to be fulfilled in John's time.

6. Good brethren disagree on the interpretation of Revelation. Brethren in the last century largely held to the historical interpretation. There is disagreement between the spiritual and preterist views today. Even among the preterists there is disagreement as to when the fulfillment took place, in the destruction of Jerusalem or the fall of the Roman Empire.
C. Two great aids in understanding Revelation.
1. An understanding of Old Testament figures and prophecy. Since Christians, both and Jew and Gentile, had a great deal of knowledge of the Old Testament it is logical that John would use many of the prophetic figures used in the Old Testament. 

2. An understand of culture of the first century and the nature of apocalyptic literature that was prevalent in John's day.

A. Christ is vitally concerned about the congregations of his church.
1. Revelation 1:11-13

2. Revelation 2:29 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'

3. Revelation 3:8 "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.

4. This illustrates clearly what Jesus said about being with his people always.

a. Matthew 18:20 "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."

b. Matthew 28:20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

B. God's people must be willing to suffer, and even die, for the faith of Jesus Christ.
1. Revelation is about a great titanic struggle between forces of Satan and the people of God.
a. Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
2. Revelation 2:10, 13 - "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life....I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 

3. Revelation 6:9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.

C. Not all the enemies of God's people are outside the wall of Fortress Zion, they are also within the walls!
1. God's people face the challenge of false doctrine, immorality among brethren, and lukewarmness.

2. Jesus' counsel to his erring people.

a. Revelation 2:5 "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent.

b. Revelation 2:16 'Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

c. Revelation 2:21_22 "And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. "22" "Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.

d. Revelation 3:3 "Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.

e. Revelation 3:19 "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

D. God's people are going to win!
1. Revelation 17:14 "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."

2. Revelation 20:11_12 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. "12" And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

3. No matter how bad the world seems, no matter how much pressure we may face, we can have confidence that God's people will be victorious in the end!

CONCLUSION: Never forget, if we remain faithful we shall overcome! And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. "3" They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! "4" Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested." (Revelation 15:2_4)

Existence of God
Creation of Mankind
Epistles- Christ's Messages to the Church
Book of Acts
The Inspiration of The Bible
The Inspiration of The Bible (Part 2)
The Life & Mission of Christ
The New Testament
The Book of Revelation -- Victory

Copyright 2000 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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