Christian Apologetics Study

A BRIEF LOOK AT THE APOCALYPSE

Jan
01

The Apocalypse was written at a time when severe persecution was upon the early Church near the close of the first century around 95 AD, during the reign of the Emperor Domitian. It was written about 63 years after Pentecost, and roughly 25 years after Jerusalem’s destruction. Yohanan (John) , who is credited for writing the Apocalypse, was exiled to the Isle of Patmos. The Isle of Patmos was a penal colony during those days, which was an island almost uninhabitable, rocky, and barren. The crime for which Yohanan suffered this banishment was for preaching and teaching God’s word about Yeshua the Messiah. During the time, he must have been around 85 years of age. It appears that none of Yeshua’s disciples were younger than Yohanan during the beginning of Yeshua’s ministry.

Yohanan appears to have naturally loving, gentle and meek disposition. Notice the simplicity of the Apostle’s introduction to the Apocalypse. He did not write the title of the book as it appears on many Bibles, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine.” On the contrary, Yohanan claims no credit for the Apocalypse. This simplicity appears to be common among all the apostles and this fact reveals to modern readers of the Holy Scriptures that they were men of humble spirits. These types of personalities we should expect our Lord to use as special servants and messengers to his people. Rather than adding loud and boastful titles to his name, we find Yohanan introducing himself as “Your Brother,” as the companion of all saints in tribulation.

The Apocalypse is primarily prophecy, and not a literal narrative. The book abounds in symbols, signs, and metaphors because these are the rules of eschatological interpretation. The signs and symbols are evidently designed to barricade its mysteries from all except a certain class, the saints, and from them also until the time was due for the secrets to be revealed. Note the words, “Blessed is he that read and they that hear and understand the words of this prophecy.” The very reading of this book will bring a blessing on believers and when its mysteries gradually dissolve, the understanding thereof will bring still additional blessing.

The book’s name, the Apocalypse, signifies the uncovering, and implies something hidden.  God seems to have given the Apocalypse with the intent of covering up great and important truths, about His future plans for humanity, from the non-believing world. For many members in the early Church, probably few understood any part of the book. Even Yohanan, who saw the visions, was probably ignorant of the significance of what he saw. During the Christian age, some of the saints sought to understand the Church’s future by examining this symbolic book, and doubtless all who read and understand even a part of its teachings were blessed as promised. The book kept opening up to such, and in the days of the Reformation was an important aid to Luther. Thus gradually God opens up his truth and reveals the exceeding riches of his grace; and consequently much more light is due now than at any previous time in the Church’s history.

APOCALYPTIC SUMMARY OF CHAPTERS

The first chapter highlights the sevenfold splendor of the glorified Son of Man when Yohanan describes his vision of Yeshua the Messiah.  Chapters two and three reveal Yeshua evaluating seven different types of Churches found in every generation. The Churches represent different  eras in the church’s history. The Church Age  shows the the Church will devolve in spiritual power, but it will increase in material and financial power during its last days on Earth. Eventually Messiah Yeshua will spit out this spiritually failing Church. Chapters four and five show the Church in victory when it has been raptured to the Third Heaven where Messiah Yeshua and the holy angels dwell. All the intervening chapters between 5 and 20 deal with terrifying conflicts between good and evil illustrated in the dramatic rise of the Anti-Messiah and the False Prophet. During in all of these apocalyptic presentations, evil is shown to be triumphant, and the people of the saints of the Most High God are worn out and cry from under the altar.  Chapters 20 reveal the close of this Gospel age and the inauguration of the Millennial Age.  The triumph of the Lord and of his saints is shown when Satan is finally defeated and cast into the lake of fire where the Beast and the False Prophet are burning and suffering continually. Chapter 21 begins with a new universe. God renovates the Heaven and Earth to completely remove all evidence of past evil throughout the universe. A New Jerusalem comes down from Heaven to Earth. The saints from all ages will live there wit

h God forever. No one will ever mourn or die or be in pain ever again. Finally, chapter 22 reveals a beautiful river flowing from God’s throne. This river has the water of life flowing in it. On the banks of the river is the tree of life, which grows twelve kinds of fruit. This last chapter gives a stern warning not to add or take away the information contained in the Apocalypse. The Apocalypse ends with the hope and a short prayer for the faithful.

RELATED SOURCES

Dictionary of Bible by Ron Rhodes; The Last Days by Richard H. Perry; the Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy by Stephen Miller; Learn The Bible in 24 Hours by Dr. Chuck Missiler; and The Book of Revelations by Larry R. Helyer, PhD.; The Next World War by Dr. Grant Jeffrey; Isralestine by Bill Salus; Revelation Road by Bill Salus; Unleashing the Beast by Perry Stone; Book of Revelation by Rev Clarence Larkin; The Return of AntiChrist by Dr. Patrict Heron.

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