Tag Archives: Revelation

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.

Revelation As Light – Manifestation

Revelation 1:16: “… And His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”

The book of Revelation is not so much a message as a manifestation, and that manifestation is the Light of God, the Urim ve Thummim for the direction of His people: “…a Light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of His people, Israel.”

Taken separately, the literal meaning of Urim is ‘Lights” and the literal meaning of Thummim is ‘Perfections.’  Taken together they have the meaning of ‘Revelation,’  ‘Perfection of Light,’ and ‘Revelation and Truth.’

In the beginning God said: “Let there be Light” and in the last book of God’s revealed Word we find that Light has come to perfection, Perfection of God’s Will, and the inevitable outcome of His Word of power.  The most fitting title possible for the final Book of Scripture is Tammim, (a variant form of Thummim), “perfection, completion and fullness.”  The Book itself declares that the Revelation is complete when it pronounces a curse upon anyone adding or taking from the words of the Book.

Symbols of Light as Literary Conventions:

There are several ways in which symbols of light are used in the book to reveal Christ.  These symbols are used according to the literary conventions already established in the canonical literature including both Old and New Testaments.  The book of Beginnings, Genesis, starts with the revelation of the Secret of Light:

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  And the earth was without form, and void; And darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  And God said, Let there be Light: and there was Light.” -Genesis 1:1-3 KJV.

The Gospel of John starts from this same beginning point:

(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) The same was in the beginning with God.  (3) All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. (4) In Him was Life: and the Life was the Light of men.  (5) And the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not

(6)There was a man sent from God whose name was John.  (7) The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe. (8) He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  (9) That was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.  (10) He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew Him not.  (11) He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.  (12) But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: (13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (14) And the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us, (And we beheld His glory, [beautiful Light], the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”  John 1:1-14.

Jesus Claimed to be this Light of the World:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life,” John 8:12.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world,” John 9:5.

“Then Jesus said unto them.  ‘Yet a little while is the Light with you.  Walk while ye have the Light, lest darkness come upon you:  for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.  While ye have Light, believe in the Light, that ye may be the children of Light.’  These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide Himself from them.”  John 12:35-6.

God is Light:

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life; (For the Life was manifested, [revealed, brought to light], and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us:)…This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  1 John 1:1, 2, 5.

Revelation was to show [reveal] Christ as the King of Kings:

“…until the appearing [Revelation] of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in His times He shall shew [Reveal], Who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the Light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to Whom be honour and power everlasting.  Amen.”  (1 Timothy 6:14b-16.)

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,”  James 1:17.

Next: Revelation: Light Was Conceived In Creation

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.

Jewish Persecution Of The Church Part 1

Revelation 1:9: “I, John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation ….”

Persecution: Roman or Jewish?

Is the persecution alluded to in the Book of Revelation from the Romans or from the Jews?* Many theologians and secular historians suppose that the persecution was from Rome. Others agree that if the Apocalypse “does refer to conditions in Asia Minor under Domitian it is the only source for such a persecution,” (Cary and Scullard, A History of Rome, pages 153.)

What do the New Testament and the Book of Revelation actually say about persecution of Christians? The theme of tribulation is first sounded in Revelation 1:9:

I, John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

References to persecution in the Book of Acts reveal Jewish, not Roman, persecution. The Book of Acts was probably written after Paul’s imprisonment at Rome, probably 62-68 AD, but not later than the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. It is probable that both Peter and Paul were victims of Nero’s persecution of Christians in Rome after the fire of 64. However, Acts must have been written before that time as Paul’s death is not mentioned. If the Book of Revelation were written in this same era, then Acts should make a relevant document for comparison of the theme of persecution. The source of persecution of the saints would most likely be the same in both books.

Bible References to Persecution of Christians*

References to persecution in Acts are as follows: Acts 4:3, 18, 21, 29, arrests and trials; 5:17-18, 33, 40, arrests, trials, beatings; 6:9-14, 7:54; 57-8:1, martyrdom of Stephen and persecution of the Church; 8:3, the Church ravaged and Christians imprisoned; 9:1-2, 13-14, 21, 23, Saul/Paul’s acts of persecution; 12:1-11; 13:45, 50; 14:5 (Jews with Gentiles), 19, 22; 15:26; 17:5-9, 13, 17; 18:6, 12; 19:9, 13-14, 33; 20:3, 19; 21:11, 27-35; 22:4, 22-25, 30; 23:12-35; 24:1-9, 24, 27; 25:2, 7-9, 15, 24; 26:9-11, 21; 28:19. (See above also for the list of references to the crucifixion of Christ since the crucifixion of Christ was attributed to “the Jews.” See also Acts 2:23, 36; 3:13-15; 4:10-11, 26-28; 5:30; 6:52; 10:40; 13:27-29).

Further allusions or references to persecution or tribulation in the Book of Revelation are: Revelation 2:9-13; 2:22; 3:9-10; 6:9-11; 7:14; 11:7-10; 12:4, 11, 13, 15, 17; 13:7; 15-17; 16:5-6; 17:2, 4, 6, 14; 18: 3-4, 6, 9, 20, 24; 19:2; 20:4; 21:4; 22:15.[i]Of these, 2:9-13 and 3:9 clearly refer directly to Jewish persecution. In addition to these, references to the martyrdom of Christ might also be seen as references to Jewish persecution. References to Christ’s martyrdom are as follows: 1:5, 7, 18; 2:8; 5:6, 9. The question remains as to whether or not the remaining references pertain to Roman persecution.

Christians as Good Citizens of Rome

As Harold Lindsell has pointed out: “The author [of Acts] is careful to point out that the Christians were not enemies of the Empire: every time the missionaries were brought before Roman authorities they were absolved of all charges of sedition or insurrection.”**

If there had been severe persecution from Rome, surely there would have been some mention of it here.  But instead we find that in every case the persecution is from “the Jews” or by their instigation. Since the persecution in the Book of Acts is from the Jews, not the Romans, why should we attribute that of the Book of Revelation to the Romans?

The Book of I Peter was also written in this same era, [AD 63-67], and has a strong theme of persecution. The addressees are Christians in northern Asia Minor, (see below), just as the Book of Revelation is addressed to the seven Churches in southern Asia Minor. Since the dates are similar and the addressees are similar, the source of persecution would very likely be the same. References to persecution in I Peter are as follows: 1:6; 3:9, 13-18; 4:1-2, 12-19.  Was this persecution from Rome?  It hardly seems so from the admonition in 2:13-15:

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

Here Roman authorities are seen to be friends of Christianity.

Jews of the Dispersion

It should be noted that I Peter is addressed to the “exiles of the Dispersion” specifically those in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, that is, northern Asia Minor.  The term “exiles of the Dispersion” is used specifically of Jews who have left Judea to live in another land.  The affairs in Judea at this particular time were such that many who were Christians fled from the political anarchy, religious persecution, and economic deprivation.  Pontus and Asia are specifically named in Acts 2:9 as places from which Jews had come to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost.  It is therefore likely that those who later fled from Judea went to areas where Jews already lived.

Indeed, we know from Paul’s missionary journeys that there were Jewish synagogues throughout the Roman world.  Many of these colonies in the Dispersion were more populous than in Judea itself.  There were especially large colonies in Babylon and Alexandria.  It is therefore evident that the persecutions in all the far-flung nations of the Roman world could have been by the Jews or at their instigation.  (See Acts 2:5-11; 6:9; of Christian Jews 8:1, 4-5; 11:19.)

The Testimony of Peter

Peter is expecting the “end,” that is, the end of the times predicted by Daniel for the destruction of the nation of Israel and its Temple: “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer,” I Peter 4:7.  In the same way the Book of Revelation is about that “appointed time” of the end, “the time is at hand.” Revelation 1:3.

First Peter speaks specifically of the “Revelation of Jesus Christ“: in salvation, (1:5, 7, 13); and in glory, (5:1).  He believed this “Revelation” was “at hand.”  With Jeremiah 25:17-18 in view Peter says:

 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, [i.e. the Jews], what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? I Peter 4:17.

* References are not necessarily exhaustive.

**Harold Lindsell, “Introduction to the Acts of the Apostles,” Harper’s Study Bible, RSV, (Grand Rapids Michigan, Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1981), p. 1625.

Behold He Cometh – Part 1

Revelation 1:7: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth, shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

This verse has two direct referents; (a) the phrase “coming with clouds” is found in Daniel 7:13 and (b) the phrase “look on him whom they have pierced” is from Zechariah 12:10. Other passages in the Scriptures also give us more context for interpreting Christ’s “coming”.[1]

Coming With Clouds

Daniel 7:13 speaks of the “Son of Man… coming with the clouds of heaven”. Jesus spoke of Himself as the “Son of Man,” a title used of the Messiah, (Matthew 26: 64 and Luke 19:9-10). In the context of His predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem, He clearly foretells that the “Son of Man” will be seen “coming in a cloud with power and great glory,” (Luke 21:27; Matthew 24:30.) The use of the terms “Son of Man” and “coming with clouds” brings to mind Daniel chapter 7, which so often serves as a referent to passages throughout the book of Revelation. The Revelation, “coming, appearance,” of Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:7, is a record of the fulfillment of Daniel’s vision, and the establishment of Christ’s kingdom, Daniel 7:13, 14, 22, 27.

Daniel 7:27 was fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70. The old, fallen kingdom of Israel ceased to exist and the Kingdom was given to Christ and His Body, “the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them,” Daniel 7:27. This completed the translation of the kingdom from an earthly kingdom to a heavenly one as foretold by Daniel.

Revelation 1:7 refers directly to the words of Christ in Matthew 26:64:
“Jesus saith unto him, Thou [the High Priest, singular] hast said: nevertheless I say unto you [plural, the chief priests and scribes], Hereafter shall ye [plural] see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

When Jesus said: “ye shall see,” He was referring to Zechariah 12:10, “They shall look on Me whom they have pierced”

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (Zech. 12:10)

This prophecy has been literally fulfilled according to John 19:37; it does not await a future fulfillment:
“36 For these things were done, that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another Scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” (John 19:36-37)

The phrase “they which pierced Him” refers directly to the men who pierced His side when they crucified Him, especially the chief priests and scribes to whom Jesus was speaking in Matthew 26:64. This verse requires that Christ’s coming in the clouds be fulfilled in the generation which crucified Him. It requires that some of these men should be alive when He “comes with clouds” in order to witness, in the flesh, His appearance or revelation.

The referent Scripture in Zechariah 12:10 foretells that “they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a first-born.”

These are the ones who grieved for the demise of their fleshly kingship and priesthood. The slaughter of the babes of Bethlehem: “Rachel weeping for her children and would not be comforted, for they were not,” marked the end of the fleshly lineage of David’s heirs to the throne. Jesus’ miraculous escape marked Him as the last and only survivor for David’s dynasty, “an only child,” a “first-born.” When He was “pierced,” crucified, those who hoped for the fleshly fulfillment of the promises “mourned for Him as one would mourn for an only Son, and were in bitterness for Him as one that is in bitterness for his Firstborn, (or Heir).”

The people mourned not only their kingship but also their priesthood. The legitimate priesthood, descended from Aaron, had ceased to exist because the office had become merely a political appointment by Rome instead of the God ordained line of succession. The change of person in the pronouns in Zechariah 12:10: “look upon me” and “mourn for him” may indicate that they looked upon Christ, the One Who was pierced, and mourned for David whose dynasty and promises seemed to be ending in defeat.

In one sense of the word, the entire nation participated in and was judged for the crime of their leaders, for the nation ceased to exist as a fleshly nation. In this sense, they were all guilty of having “pierced” Him. Yet, those who would accept His grace were forgiven, even as He prayed for them while on the cross. His shed blood became the genetic blood of the New Israel.
[1] See WS at 1:7: “Coming”.