66 Revelation

Also called the ‘Apocalypse’ this is a prophecy foretelling (in symbol) events leading to the return of Christ and his revelation to the world. It contains important visions of the Kingdom of God.

Map

 

 

Rev 1:1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 John, a Servant of Jesus Christ

The Apostle John was a prisoner on the Isle of Patmos (see map) at the end of the first century AD, when he received this prophecy. He received it directly from Jesus, and wrote it down for the benefit of Jesus’ followers in all subsequent ages.
As the last of the divinely inspired writings, Revelation has many links with the first book: Genesis. The Bible begins with paradise in Eden and ends with paradise restored (Revelation 22). The prophecy is a ‘revelation’ or an ‘uncovering’ of events affecting Jesus’ followers from the time of John, until Christ returns to be revealed in glory.

A Book of Symbol
It is important to note (1:1) that the book is “signified” (i.e. in symbolic form). For example, “heaven” means ‘the ruling powers’, and “war in heaven” refers to conflicts in human governments.

Seven-fold Visions
The number seven appears many times in the book. Seven is often used in the sense of completeness, and this is fitting as Revelation completes the Bible record. Jesus’ first message is to seven churches (ecclesias) in the province of Asia, representative of his followers throughout the world (see map).
Indicating the unfolding purpose of God, there is revealed to John:
scroll

• a 7-sealed scroll —various stages in the Roman Empire until it becomes Christianised;

 

 

 

trumpet

• 7 trumpets sounding warnings —the overthrow of the Roman power: in the West by the Barbarians, in the East by Saracens and Turks;

 

 

 

bowl

• 7 bowls (“vials”, AV) containing plagues —aimed at the destruction of the Holy Roman Empire (West) and the Turkish Empire (East).

 

 

 

 

Visions of Glory

Each of these seven-fold sections is introduced by a vision of the coming Kingdom, to which the events move forward relentlessly and in increasing detail.

War with the Lamb
In a separate but parallel sequence, world political and religious systems are depicted as frightening beasts who make war on the Lamb—the Lord Jesus Christ—who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29)

 The Final Stage
The events in the prophecy lead to the overthrow of all these systems by Christ at his “revelation” (i.e. his coming) and the setting up of God’s Kingdom on earth.

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