The book of Revelation, where John receives a stunning vision series of the future Earth and Heavens, is by far the most unusual and difficult book in the New Testament Christian Scriptures. John writes in the highly symbolic apocalyptic style, which uses dramatic images to convey spiritual truths. Once the reader gains a basic knowledge of the symbols John uses, the meaning becomes clearer.
Revelation has three levels of interpretation. First, John writes to encourage first-century Christians suffering at the hands of the Roman Empire. Second, God uses these same words to encourage and challenge Christians to faithfulness today. And third, John points prophetically to the eventual triumph of Messiah over the forces of evil as God judges the world once for all and creates a new heaven and a new Earth.
God is sovereign. He is greater than any power in the universe. God is not to be compared with any leader, government, or religion. He controls history for the purpose of uniting true believers in loving fellowship with him. Though Satan’s power may temporarily increase, we are not to be led astray. God is all-powerful. He is in control. He will bring his true family safely into eternal life. Because he cares for us, we can trust him with our very life.
Messiah Yeshua came to Earth as a “Lamb,” the symbol of his perfect sacrifice for our sin. He will return as the triumphant “Lion,” the rightful ruler and conqueror. He will defeat Satan, settle accounts with all those who reject him, and bring his faithful people into eternity. Messiah Yeshua’s return to Earth assures suffering Christians the strength to endure. We can look forward to his return as king and judge. Since no one knows the time when he will appear, we must be ready at all times by keeping our faith strong.
John wrote to encourage the church to resist the demands to worship the Roman emperor. He warns all God’s faithful people to be devoted only to Messiah. Revelation identifies who the faithful people are and what they should be doing until Messiah returns. We can take our place in the ranks of God’s faithful people by believing in Messiah Yeshua. Victory is sure for those who resist temptation and make loyalty to Messiah their top priority.
One day God’s anger toward sin will be fully and completely unleashed. Satan will be defeated with all of his agents. False religion will be destroyed. God will reward the faithful with eternal life, but all who refuse to believe in him will face eternal punishment. Evil and injustice will not prevail forever. God’s final judgment will put an end to these. We need to be certain of our commitment to Yeshua if we want to escape this great final judgment. No one who rejects Messiah Yeshua will escape God’s punishment.
One day God will create a new heaven and a new Earth. All believers will live with him forever in perfect peace and security. Those who have already died will be raised to life. These promises for the future bring us hope. Our great hope is that what Messiah promises will come true. When we have confidence in our final destination, we can follow Messiah with unwavering dedication no matter what we must face. We can be encouraged by hoping in Messiah’s return.
INTERPRETATIONS OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION
This book has been very difficult to interpret for believers and students of eschatology and because of this challenge God will give readers and hearers of this book a special blessing (Revelation 1:3). For years, there have been many approaches to interpreting this Book of Revelation, but each theory can be divided into four major systems: the Preterist theory, historical theory, historical-spiritual theory, and futurist theory. The Preterist theory says all of Revelation has been fulfilled in the past. It had to do with local references in John’s day. It had to do with the days of either Nero or Domitian. The view was held by Renan and most German scholars, also by Elliott. However, the problem with this theory is that Messiah Yeshua never returned and set up his kingdom on Earth.
The Historical theory says the fulfillment of Revelation is going on in history, and Revelation is the prophetic history of the church, according to this theory. However, the problem with this theory is that it only focuses on Revelation chapters two and three, while ignoring the rest of the book. The Historical-Spiritual theory is a refinement of the Historical theory and was advanced by Theologian Sir William Ramsay. It argues that the two beasts are Imperial and Provincial Rome. The point of the book is to encourage Christians. According to this theory, Revelation has been largely fulfilled and there are spiritual lessons for the church today. Liberal scholars have adopted this unbiblical view because it dissipates and defeats the purpose of the book.
Finally, the Futurist theory holds that the Book of Revelation is primarily prophetic and yet future, especially from Revelation chapters 4 on to the end of the book. This is the view of many conservative premillennial prophecy scholars and it is the view embraced and accepted by scientist and eschatologist Sir Isaac Newton.
SUMMARY OF APOCALYPTIC CHAPTERS
The first chapter sketches the revelation of Messiah Yeshua to John. A voice said, “Write to the seven churches. John describes the sevenfold splendor of the glorified Son of Man. Chapter two begins Yeshua’s evaluation of the seven Churches. To the Church of Ephesus, He says renew your first love. To the Church of Smyrna, He says be faithful until death. To the Church of Pergamum, He says some hold false teaching. To the Church of Thyatira, He says you tolerate Jezebel. Chapter three continues Messiah Yeshua’s evaluation of the Churches. To the Church of Sardis, He says you are not alive but dead. To the Church of Philadelphia, He says you have endured in my word. However, to the Church of Laodicea, He says you are lukewarm so I will spit you out. Chapter four says John is transported to the throne room of God Almighty. John saw God seated on the throne in heaven. The four living creatures say, “Holy, holy, holy.” The elders say, “You created all things. Chapter five reveals Messiah Yeshua when John saw a Lamb standing as though slain took the scroll with seven seals. The creatures, elders and myriad angels sang, “Worthy is the Lamb!”
Chapter six begins the 21 judgments during the tribulation period when the Lamb opened four seals and the horsemen went out to destroy. With the fifth seal John saw the martyrs. With the sixth the stars fell. Chapter seven reveals that the 144,000 were sealed from the tribes. A multitude cried, “Salvation belongs to our God.” An elder said, “God will wipe every tear.” Chapter eight reveals that when the seventh seal was open there was silence. John saw seven angels. Four angels blew their trumpets and a third of the earth was destroyed. Chapter nine reveals that at the fifth trumpet, locusts from the pit tormented the earth emerge. At the sixth trumpet, four angels killed a third of mankind with fire.
Chapter 10 reveals John observation of an angel with a scroll. The angel cried out and seven thunders sounded. A voice said, “Eat the scroll.” It was sweet and then bitter. Chapter 11 reveals Moses and Elijah when the two witnesses will prophesy until the beast kills them. At the seventh trumpet, loud voices said, “Our God shall reign forever.” Chapter 12 mentions the nation of Israel as a woman giving birth and a great dragon who is Satan appears. Michael and his angels fought the dragon. The dragon was defeated and thrown out of heaven and down to planet earth. Chapter 13 reveals the Anti-Messiah and the False Prophet when John saw a beast rising out of the sea. It spoke blasphemy against God. Another beast rose and gave everyone a mark. Its number is 666. Chapter 14 mentions Messiah Yeshua and His Jewish followers when John saw the Lamb in Zion with the 144,000. Angels said, “The hour of judgment has come.” The earth was reaped with a sharp sickle. Chapter 15 reveals the proliferation of sickness and disease when John saw angels with seven plagues. Those who conquered sang, “Just are your ways, Lord!” The angels were given seven bowls of wrath.
Chapter 16 reveals worldwide natural disasters when the bowls of wrath were poured out. The seas turned to blood, darkness fell, the kings gathered at Armageddon and the earth quaked. Chapter 17 reveals the worldwide pagan religious system when John saw a prostitute on a beast with seven heads and ten horns. An angel said, “The heads and horns are kings. The Lamb will conquer.” Chapter 18 reveals a global government system and the destruction of its world economy when an angel cried, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon!” The kings and merchants will weep. An angel said, “The great city will be thrown down.”
Chapter 19 reveals the defeat of the Anti-Messiah’s world army at the battle of Armageddon when a multitude cried, “Hallelujah! The Lord reigns.” The Word of God led the armies of heaven. The beast was cast into the lake of fire. Chapter 20 describes the complete defeat of evil in the universe when Satan is bound and the martyrs reigned with Messiah Yeshua for 1,000 years. After this period, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire. The dead were judged. Chapter 21 reveals the restoration of God’s universe and all things good when John saw a New Heaven and Earth renovated. A voice said, “God dwells with his people.” An angel showed me the New Jerusalem. Its lamp is the Lamb. Finally, chapter 22 says the river of life flows from the throne of God. “Behold, I am coming soon. I am the beginning and the end.” Amen. Come, Lord Yeshua!”
REVELATION COMPLEMENTS GENESIS
Revelation complements Genesis because there is a striking balance between these books. In Genesis we see Heaven and Earth created, but in Revelation we see them passing away. In Genesis we read about the Sun and Moon being created, but in Revelation we read that the people of Earth have no need of the Sun or Moon because the Lamb is the light of the world. In Genesis we read about the Garden of Eden, which is the first home for humankind. In Revelation we read about a city, the home for the nations. In Genesis we read about the marriage of the First Adam; in Revelation we read about the marriage of the Second Adam (Messiah Yeshua). In Genesis we see the first grim appearance of the great Adversary of God and man; in Revelation we see the enemy’s final doom. In Genesis we read about the beginning of sorrow and suffering; but in Revelation we see the end of sorrow and suffering when tears are wiped away and no more pain exist. In Genesis we read about the beginning of the curse because of human transgression; but in Revelation we read there will be no more curse. In Genesis we see mankind driven out of the Garden of Eden; but in Revelation we see mankind welcomed back with tree of life at humanity’s disposal. Finally, Revelation offers a glowing illustration of Messiah Yeshua as the Triumphant Leader. The key words are “The Revelation of Yeshua Ha-Mashiach.” This Book unveils the Lord Yeshua. When we study the Apocalypse, we will discover a marvelous revelation about who Yeshua really is. Messiah Yeshua is the Glorified Son of Man, The Second Person in the Triune Godhead, the Head of the Church, the Triumphant Warrior, and the Creator and Ruler of His Tri-Universe.
Biblical Mysteries; Donald P. Ryan, Ph.D; 2000. The Bible; Jim Bell and Stan Cambell; 1999. The Complete Guide to the Bible; Stephen M. Miller; 2007. The Hand Writing of God; Dr. Grant Jeffrey; 2000. The Signature of God; Dr. Grant Jeffrey; 2010. The Septuagint With Apocrypha: English; Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton; 1851. Bible Prophecies; 2013. The Book of Revelation; J Vernon McGee; 1988. Bible Outline by Robert Lee. Book of Revelation by Rev, Clarence Larkin.