Category Archives: Revelation Commentary

Revelation 1:1 Questions and Answers

Revelation 1:1 answers these ten important questions in one verse:

1.What genre is the Book of Revelation? Answer: “A Revelation.”

2. What is “revelation”?  Answer: The revealing of that which was hidden.

3.What is to be ‘revealed’? Answer: “Jesus Christ.”

4.How is He to be revealed? Answer: God gives the revelation.

5.Why is He being thus revealed? Answer: “To shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.”

6.What does the word ‘must’ mean? Answer: It means that it is morally imperative.

7.What does the word ‘shortly’ mean? Answer: It means ‘quickly, soon, in a short space                         of time.’

8.What does ‘come to pass’ mean? Answer: It means it will come and it will pass in a short space of time.

9.What does ‘He sent and signified it” mean? Answer: That God sent the revelation and signified it by symbols.

10.Why did God send it by an ‘Angel’? Answer: To fulfill His promise to Daniel. This ‘Angel’ is identified in Revelation 19:10, in fulfillment of Daniel 12:13.

The Word ‘Apocalypse’

The Book of Revelation is often referred to as “The Apocalypse”

for that corresponds to the title in Greek, actually apokalupsis. So to study the Book of Revelation we need first to understand this word.

The word apokalupsis is also found 19 times in the Greek New Testament and is variously translated in the KJV by the following words or phrases:

“Revelation” 12 times: Romans 2:5; 16:25; 1 Corinthians 14:6, 26; 2 Corinthians 12:1, 7;

Galatians 1:12; 2:2.

“Manifestation” once: Romans 8:19.

“Revealed” once: Matthew 10:26.

“Revealed” To enlighten, once: Matthew 11:25.

“Appearing” once: 1Peter 1:7.

“Coming” once: 1Corinthians 1:7.

“When Christ shall be revealed,” twice: 2Thessalonians 1:7; 1Peter 4:13.

Study these passages of Scripture

In these instances, when speaking of persons, it means “appearing,” or “manifestation”; when speaking of facts and truths it means “disclosure,” or “revelation.”

Note that in Romans 8:19 apocalupsis is translated by the KJV as “manifestation.” In 1Corinthians 1:7 apocalupsis is translated by the KJV as “coming.” Therefore, the title of the Book of Revelation could have been translated: “The Coming of Jesus Christ.”

The “Revelation/Coming/Appearing of Jesus Christ” was predicted by several instances in the New Testament, (KJV), using a form of the word apocalypse:

Matthew 16:27: “…Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father….”

Matthew 16:28: “Verily I say unto you There be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.”

Luke 17:30:  “…day when the Son of Man is revealed.”

1Corinthians. 1:7:  “…waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2Thessalonians 1:7:  “…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed

1Pet. 1:7:  “…at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

1Pet. 1:13: “…grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…”

Revelation 1:1:  “The revelation of Jesus Christ…”

Do these references all refer to the same event as Revelation 1:1?

The problem for interpretation is: Does the “Revelation” in 1:1 refer to the same event as the others mentioned in the New Testament where the same word is used? Since the New Testament is the immediate context for the Book of Revelation, then there is no reason to believe otherwise. The view that they are not the same event would need defense; the logical view is that they do indeed speak of the same event. The Book of Revelation announces the fulfillment of the “revelation/coming/appearing” that was predicted by the other New Testament prophets.

Prediction and Fulfillment

In the Scriptures, prophetic predictions are followed by the historical account of the fulfillment of those predictions. Although “the things which must shortly come to pass,” Revelation 1:1, were in the immediate future at the time John the Revelator received the vision and gave testimony to it, the Book was not canonized, that is, was not recognized as Scripture, until after these events had indeed become historical fact. The canonization of the Book by the Christian community was their witness that the prophesied events had indeed come to pass at the appointed time.

Just as the Old Testament predictions of the first coming of the Messiah are shown to be fulfilled by the Gospel accounts, so the predictions recorded in the New Testament of His “second coming,” or “revelation,” are fulfilled in the Book of Revelation. Thus the pattern is complete: Light has been perfected.

But the Book is eternally relevant, for just as Jesus referred to the events of Noah’s day: “As it was in the days of Noah…,” so should we refer to the events of the end of the Jewish fleshly nation: “As it was in the days of the destruction of Jerusalem,” for that event served as an example of the end of any nation that rejects God. Yes, even finally, of the end of the whole world.

This lesson is an edited excerpt from my book, Revelation In Context, pages 66-69, available at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma and also at www.Amazon.com and www.xulonpress.com.  Free downloads are available at www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.

The Second Death

Revelation 2:11 – “He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death.”

The idea of a second death is shocking because we ordinarily think of death as the final event. The fact that there is a possibility of a ‘second death’ indicates that the first death was not total. Death of the flesh, for the saint, is merely a change of garment. We are changed from the mortal to the immortal, and therefore death is swallowed up in victory.

The old Greek adage “Physician, heal thyself,” was a taunt that challenged the physicians of that time to take their own remedies and medicines before giving them to others. This same idea lay behind the taunt hurled at Jesus on the cross. They said: “He saved others. Himself he cannot save.” They did not know how true their words were, for He indeed was deliberately sacrificing Himself, refusing to come down from the cross, in order to save the world. He would not save Himself from death.

Yet, he was able to turn the words around because He and He only could sacrifice Himself, yet save Himself by rising from the dead. In the resurrection, the Great Physician did indeed heal Himself, as well as the entire world. In the resurrection, the whole world was healed of Death. We were healed. Not merely from this or that disease or infirmity, but the very source of all disease and infirmity, the principle of Death itself, working in our bodies because of Adam’s sin.

In the resurrection, Christ reversed the curse of death upon the human race.

Tribulation And The Crown of Life

Revelation 2:10: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Tribulation

The original persecution of Christians is described in the New Testament and was from the unbelieving Jews. It was the Jews of Judea that came into direct conflict with Christ in the Gospels and were the instruments of His arrest, condemnation and crucifixion. The Roman Empire did not distinguish between Christians and Jews until later at the time of Nero, or perhaps Hadrian. Even then the persecution under the Roman government was often at the instigation of the unbelieving Jews, as is indicated clearly in the New Testament as well as secular Roman history.

The tribulation under Nero may have been instigated by his wife, Poppea, who was a Jewish proselyte and a probable source of accusations against Christians . Poppea had requested and received favors for the Jews and had retained the High Priest Ismael and Helcias the treasurer. (Josephus’ Antiquites 20.2, also footnote; see also Eusebius, History of the Church, 104-5).

Other Persecution

There were several other periods of intense persecution of Christians by the Roman Empire. Those under Domitian, (circa AD 96), and Diocletian, (circa AD 245-313), are well documented by secular historians. However, in New Testament times, it was the Jews that “had the greater sin, John 19:11.”

“Persecution of the early Christians was sometimes because they would not bear arms and because they would not worship the emperor. As the Empire weakened some saw its collapse as a prelude to the fall of ‘Babylon’ and the return of Christ. The persecution under Diocletian lasted for 8 years and about 1500 Christians died. Some denied the faith and the Church seemed weakened for a time but the example and testimony of the martyrs became the source of many-fold converts. ‘The blood of martyrs,’ said Tertullian, ‘is seed’.

“‘There is no greater drama in human record than the sight of a few Christians, scorned or oppressed by a succession of emperors, bearing all trials with a fierce tenacity, multiplying quietly, building order while their enemies generated chaos, fighting the sword with the word, brutality with hope, and at last defeating the strongest state that history has known. Caesar and Christ had met in the arena, and Christ had won,'” (Will Durant, in The Story of Civilization, Part III, (Simon and Schuster, 1944), p. 652.

The message of Revelation 2:10 has strengthened every persecuted saint since that time with the command: “Fear not!” A fearless people are unconquerable.

The Crown of Life

The idea of the “Crown of Life” promised here is not taken from the ornamental headdress worn by kings as a symbol of their status, power and authority. It is rather from the idea of the crown of a plant, which is indeed a crown of Life.

The crown of a plant is that amazing cell or clump of cells from which the plant grows and increases. It is the life-producing part which reaches upward toward the light of the sun and multiplies itself continually. At the same time, it is reaching downward into the earth for the water and nutrients required to sustain its growth and produce fruit. Some plants will die if this crown is destroyed. Others will create new crowns at the leaf junctures. In any case, the plant grows only from the crown.

The idea of the king’s crown no doubt originated from the plant crown. It indicates a life source, or eternal life. When associated with mortal kingship, it is therefore a form of idolatry, since it is ascribing attributes of deity to a mortal man. A prominent and enduring motif of this symbol is the fleur de lis, combining the idea of the plant crown and the king’s crown.

This lesson is an edited excerpt from my book, Revelation in Context, available locally at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma or www.Amazon.com, or www.XulonPress.com.
Free downloads are also available at www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.

Who Is A Jew? – The Purity (?) Of The Jewish Race

Revelation 2:9; 3:9:  “… them which say they are Jews and are not.”

Is there a promise of “eternal security” to all of the physical seed of Abraham? No.

Romans 11: 1 is so often quoted out of context, ignoring the following verses. The point here is that at that time the nation of Israel had been greatly reduced to a bare remnant. (See the many references to the “remnant” in the Old Testament prophets.) Many had been “cut off” and/or “blinded” because of sin and unbelief. The writer of Romans, Paul, compares it to the time of Elias when the remnant had become so small that Elias thought he was the only one left. But Paul says that, like it was in the time of Elias, there is “even so then at this present time,” a relatively small remnant. This remaining remnant is “the elect” according to the grace of God in Christ.

Only a Remnant returned from the Babylonian Captivity

In fact, after the Babylonian captivity, (500+ B.C.) only a remnant had returned to Palestine, Romans 9:27-29, quoting Isaiah 10:21-22; 1:9. Those returning to Palestine after the captivity considered themselves the purified remnant of Israel, whom God had redeemed from bondage and made heirs to the promises.*Those who remained in Babylon went into the false interpretations of Rabbinic Judaism which became known as the “Pharisees” of the New Testament era.

Jesus became the Heir of all things: Hebrews 1:2.

So are those who were “cut off” and “blinded” still Israel? No. Paul quotes from the Old Testament to show that their “cutting off” and “blindness” had been foretold, Deuteronomy chapters 29-32; Psalm 69:22; Isaiah 11:11, 12, 16; Jeremiah 11:16. But they may be grafted back in if they turn from their unbelief. If and when they are grafted back in to Christ, and also with the inflow of the Gentiles, then “all Israel will be saved as it is written,” and he quotes Isaiah 45:17, 25 and Jeremiah 31:31 where the New Covenant was promised. They can only be saved through Christ.

So what happens to those unbelievers who refuse to be grafted back in? Jesus answered that question in John 15:1-6; they will die and be burned. Christ is the only living Branch of the Old Vine. The Old Covenant passed away when there were none left to qualify under its terms. Only in the New Covenant is there opportunity to be born again to a new life.

Old Israel died.

When Old Israel refused Jesus as their Messiah Savior, it died. The doom on the Temple was pronounced in Daniel 9:26; Micah 3:12; Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:2; Luke 19:41-44. The curse upon the fig tree, Mark 11:13 was symbolic of the curse upon the nation that was not bringing forth fruit for God. The parable of the fig tree, Mark 12:1-12 was to show that the “vineyard,” Israel, was to be taken from the wicked rulers and given to those in Christ, the Christians.

The New Israel was constituted of those who were in His Body, Matthew 26:26-28; ICorinthians 10:16-17.

But the true “Temple” would be raised up again as promised, Amos 9:11; Matthew 26:61; Mark 14:58; John 2:19-21; that is the Temple of Christ’s Body, the Church, Ephesians 1:22-23.

The Promised Regathering of Israel

The regathering of Israel, as promised by the Prophets, came in the ingathering in Christ, Ephesians 1-10-11. Those who were “in Christ” were no longer strangers and foreigners, but had become Israelites in the true sense of the word, Ephesians 2:11-22. So far as the genetic blood from Abraham was concerned, the Jews were making proselytes in the New Testament era, Matthew 23:15; Acts 2:10; 6:5; 13:43. These proselytes need have no drop of genetic blood from Abraham, yet claimed to be “Jews”.

From the time of Christ on, forever, only those “in Christ” are truly Jews by the Biblical definition.

*(See also John Bright, A History of Israel, Westminster Press, 1959. Pp.379 and 431)

This lesson is an edited excerpt from my book, Revelation in Context, available locally at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma or www.Amazon.com, or www.XulonPress.com.
Free downloads are also available at www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.