Revelation: Chapter OneLorraine Day, M.D.
The two main apocalyptic passages in the New Testament that help us understand the book of Revelation are: Matt 24, and 2 Thessalonians 2. The Bible versions used in all these studies are the King James Version and the Concordant literal translation.
Jesus, in Matt 24, and Paul in 2 Thess. 2, quote heavily from the book of Daniel.
Christ's understanding of the prophecies of Daniel
Matt 24 Daniel "When you see in the holy place...
the abomination" vs 15
"the rebellion (transgression) that causes
desolation" Dan 8:3
"For then shall be great tribulation such
as was not since the beginning of the world
to this time, no, nor ever shall be. Vs 21
"There will be a time of distress such
as has not happened from the beginning
of nations until then." Dan 12:1
"At that time men will see the Son of Man
coming in clouds with great powet and glory."
"There before me was one like a
son of man, coming with the clouds of
heaven...He was given authority
glory and sovereign power" (Dan 7:13)
Paul's use of the writings of Daniel
"Paul's use of the book of Daniel as the source for his prophetic outline of church history, makes 2 Thessalonians 2 another indispensable link between the books of Daniel and Revelation." Understanding End-Time Prophecies, LaRondelle p 62
Paul says that first, "the rebellion" must be revealed in the "man of lawlessness" who will "set himself up in God's temple" accompanied by "counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders" (2 Thess 2:3,4,9). Only then will the Lord be revealed and destroy the lawless one (2 Thess. 2:8).
Revelation Chapter One
Vs 1: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass;. . ."
Notice that this book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ! EVERYTHING in this book MUST be interpreted through the life of Jesus Christ when He was on earth. Nothing in the book of Revelation can disagree with the character of Jesus Christ when He was on earth.
Therefore, we must carefully study passages about Jesus that appear to contradict the character Jesus exhibited when He was on earth. EVERYTHING about Jesus in Revelation MUST correspond perfectly with His character on earth. Thus, Jesus CANNOT kill, He will NOT bring literal fire down from heaven to consume the wicked, He will ALWAYS do good to those who hate Him, and He came to save “the (whole) world!” And Jesus NEVER changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
As we study, we will begin to understand what these passages mean.
In addition, the literal translation of the word "shortly" is actually SWIFTLY. It means not soon, but with speed. "When these things occur, they will occur swiftly."
Vs 2: What is the "testimony of Jesus" that John speaks of?
Rev 19:10 says, ". . . the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
In Rev 1:9 John says that he was exiled on the Isle of Patmos, "for the word of God" (the Old Testament Scriptures) "and the testimony of Jesus."
The "testimony of Jesus" that John speaks about obviously is the life of Jesus that John witnessed. Jesus gave His testimony by living a perfect life. Rev 19:10 says THAT is the spirit of prophecy - - - the testimony of Jesus.
Vs 3: A special blessing will be granted to the one who not only reads the words of Revelation, but "hears" them (understands them) and "keeps" what is written therein.
"the time is at hand" KJV. "The era is near." = literal translation.
The kingdom of heaven was near during the early part of Jesus' ministry. It was postponed by His rejection. It was near again when it was proclaimed by the apostles, but once more it was rejected by the nation of Israel.
Vs 4: The word "ecclesia" literally means "called ones", not "church" even though it is virtually always translated as "church."
". . . Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which IS, and which WAS, and which IS TO COME." The Divine Name, Jehovah, is a union of the three tenses of "to be." Here the present tense is put first to emphasize the fact that He is now present.
Vs 7: "Behold He cometh with clouds; (this is generally considered "clouds" of angels) and every eye shall see Him, (This eliminates a Secret Rapture), and they also which pierced Him (This doesn't necessarily refer to the specific persons who actually crucified Jesus - because we ALL have pierced Him by our sin.)
See Acts 9:5
Vs 8: EVERYTHING is of the Lord!
Vs 9: See explanation in Vs 2, above.
Vs 10: " I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.
Many discussions have occurred regarding what day of the week is "the Lord's day" and on what specific day John was having his vision. Some say it was Saturday - Sabbath, and some say it was Sunday, which they believe is the "Lord's day."
Both concepts appear to be wrong.
Here is the Concordant commentary's explanation, which is the best I've found.
"In spirit, John is transported into the future day of Jehovah of which the prophets have often spoken. The Hebrew phrase "the day of the Lord" is changed to "the Lord's day" in order to shift the emphasis from the character of the day to the time, which is the point of this passage.
"This is done in three ways, by changing the grammatical form, the rank, and the order of the words. The direction of the thought is altered by putting "Lord" in the dative instead of the genitive case, so that it locates rather than describes the day. Its force is further weakened by making it an adjective rather than a noun, and by shifting it from its prominent place at the end of the sentence and giving that striking location to "day." Concordant Commentary, p 384.
In this text, "the day of the Lord" refers to the "time of the end" just before Jesus comes. Peter speaks of the time of the end as the "day of the Lord" in 2 Peter 3:10:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Vs 11: What is the significance of the words "Alpha and Omega?"
The seven "churches" (ecclesias) were so located on interconnecting Roman highways that it was possible to visit each of them in the order in which they are listed. "All the Seven Cities stand on the great circular road that bound together the most populous, wealthy, and influential part of the Province" of Asia, says W. M. Ramsay in his classic work, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia.
Were the messages to the seven churches just for each of them in their own time, or are they for the Christian church throughout every age, and for every Christian individually as well?
Vs. 13: The Seven lampstands stand for a scattered "ecclesia" (a scattered group of "called ones") in the time of the end as opposed to the one seven-branched lampstand in the tabernacle and temple that stood for a cohesive united group, such as an organized group of believers. In the end, God's people, His "called ones", will be scattered all over the earth. They will not be in a large organized church group.
"The description and acts here ascribed to Christ are not priestly, but accord with His prophetic office. The prophet's function was to point out God's method of procedure. At first this was done privately, by the seers; then officially by prophets. Prophets are sent especially in apostasy. Christ wears none of the priestly vestments except the girdle, and this is of gold, not of fine twined linen (Ex 39:19). The scene is one of judgment, which the apostle tells us must begin at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). The sword indicates this (Dan 10:5)." Concordant Commentary, pg 384
Vs 14,15: These verses discuss Jesus' appearance.
Vs 16: What do the stars represent that are in His right hand? See Dan 12:3 Those whose hearts are in touch with God. God HOLDS them in His hand. Remember that Abraham's seed was to become as the stars of heaven. All those who have the faith of Abraham are Abraham's seed. This has NOTHING to do with ethnicity, but it has EVERYTHING to do with faith!
Remember Abraham and Sarah were BOTH Chaldeans, they were essentially Babylonians. That's where their original home, Ur of the Chaldees, was located. Since neither Abraham nor Sarah were "Jewish," neither their children, their grandchildren, nor their great grandchildren could be "Jewish." Therefore, neither Isaac, nor Jacob, nor Jacob's 12 sons could have been "Jewish." There was no such thing as a "Jew." (See "Who is the Church; Who is Israel" or Definition of Terms on the Home page under "Jew.").
Jacob's sons were called Israelites after Jacob was given the SPIRITUAL name "Israel" because he had triumphed as an "Overcomer." The name "Israel" had NOTHING to do with Jacob's ethnicity, only His relationship to God. He had become an overcomer! He had faith!
Everyone who trusts God becomes Abraham's seed, and a member of the true "Israel."
Vs 17: "First and last." See Isa 41:4; 44:6; 48:12; Rev 2:3; 22:13.
Vs 18: Jesus says He has the keys of "hell and death." What is the correct translation of the word "hell?"
There is no such word as "hell" in the Greek or Hebrew. In this instance, the Greek word INCORRECTLY translated "hell" is the word hades, it means the unseen, where the "soul" goes when a person dies - - - it doesn't "go" anywhere, it just ceases to exist in the same manner that light ceases to exist when one turns off a lamp. The light doesn't "go" anywhere, it just ceases to exist - it is in the "unseen."
See the study "What Happens When We Die."
Vs 20: What are the seven stars? The "angels" (more accurately messengers) of the seven churches. Are these messengers actually supernatural beings? Probably not.
"The word angel comes from a Greek word, aggelos, which really means "messenger." God's heavenly messengers are supernatural beings, but the Greek word aggelos is translated simply "messengers" in the ordinary, non-supernatural meaning of the word in Mark 1;2; Luke 7:24; Luke 9:52; and James 2:25. In these verses, the "messengers" (or "angels") are, a) John the Baptist, b) the disciples of John the Baptist, c) the disciples of Jesus Christ, and d) two spies - all very human beings indeed.
"The human-being angels, or messengers of the seven churches, are those who bring God's message to the people." God Cares, by C. Mervyn Maxwell, p 90
The Seven churches of Chs. 1-3 receive the seven letters that contain specific promises that are then fulfilled in Rev 21-22 in John's vision of the New Jerusalem in Paradise restored.
© Lorraine Day, M.D. 2006. All Rights Reserved.
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