Revelation, Prophecy, and Purpose

I. The introduction and purpose of the Book of Revelation is made very clear.

A. The Book is to “make known that which will soon come to pass.”

1. Blessings are promised to the one who reads and hears the message.

a. Ecclesiastes 12:9 – And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
b. Matthew 13:9 – Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
c. Revelation 22:17 – And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

2. John gives personal witness of the identity and function of Jesus Christ as the Faithful Witness and Ruler who has come to save and to reward at His coming those who have followed Him.

B. The first two verses are the “setting” and “formula” by which we may understand the purpose of this magnificent book.

1. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” – [Christ’s “disclosure”] -- meaning “to cover up” hence, to “take the cover off” (literally or figuratively)

a. “Which God gave to Him” – The Father granted His Son this “disclosure”
b. To show to his servants – “now to show (once for all) to His bondservants”
c. Things that must take place shortly – “these” that are “bound into being”
d. Which God verified, having sent it (the disclosure) to His servant John by His angel
e. Who (John) bore witness to the word of God - AND to the testimony of Jesus Christ, EVEN to all that he saw.

2. God the Father gave Jesus Christ (permission) to disclose to God’s servants, things (events, conditions, circumstances, factors) that are bound to come into being.  God reported the disclosure by sending His angel to John who testified of the word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ – even to all the things that John watched.

C. The presentation of the resurrected Christ is awesome.

1. The personal presence of the Lord Jesus Christ is stunning.

a. Shaped like the “Son of Man”
b. Voice like the sound of “many waters”
c. Head and hair white like wool
d. Face like the sun shining in full strength
e. Eyes like lamps of fire
f. Feet like burning brass
g. Clothing of finest white linen with a golden sash

2. The majesty and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ is transcendent.

a. He is the Alpha and Omega.
b. He is the Beginning and the Ending.
c. He is the One who was, who is, and is to come.
d. He is the One who lives, was dead, and is alive forevermore.
e. He is the Lord of the “seven angels.”
f. He is the Master of the “seven churches.”

II. The main structural pieces of Revelation are obvious.

A. The changing events are identified by the phrase, “After (this, these things) I saw (heard)”.

1. Revelation 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven…and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

2. Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.

3. Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

4. Revelation 15:5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:

5. Revelation 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

6. Revelation 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

B. There are major “Sevens” in the Book of Revelation.

1. Seven Churches – (Revelation 1:4, 11, 20)

2. Seven Golden Candlesticks – (Revelation 1:12, 13; 2:1)

3. Seven Stars – (Revelation 1:16, 20; 2:1; 3:1)

4. Seven Spirits of God – (Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; 5:6) 

5. Seven Lamps of Fire – (Revelation 4:5)

6. Seven Seals of the Book - (Revelation 5:1, 5

7. Seven Horns of the Lamb – (Revelation 5:6)

8. Seven Eyes of the Lamb – (Revelation 5:6)

9. Seven Angels Who Stood before God – (Revelation 8:2, 6; 15:6-8; 16:1; 17:1; 21:9)

10. Seven Trumpets – (Revelation 8:2, 6)

11. Seven Thunders – (Revelation 10:3-4)

12. Seven Thousand Men Slain – (Revelation 11:13)

13. Seven-Headed Beast – (Revelation 12:3; 13:1; 17:3-9)

14. Seven Crowns of the Beast – (Revelation 12:3)

15. Seven Plagues – (Revelation 15:6-8)

16. Seven Golden Vials – (Revelation 15:7; 16:1; 17:1; 21:9)

17. Seven Kings of Men – (Revelation 17:10)

III. There are certain major insights for us to understand.

A. The Message of Jesus Christ to the Churches (Revelation 1:10 through 3:22)

1. There is very little historical evidence to support a “progressive church age” tableau from these letters.  Although a surface case could be built, it is at best subjective and speculative.  History would reveal each and every one of these types of churches in just about every period.

2. The best and simplest evaluation of Christ’s message to “the churches” is to understand them as being applicable to all churches during all His reign with specific application to the church most identified by the particular message.

B. The Throne Room and the Court of Heaven are described (Revelation 4:1 throught 5:14).

1. The Lamb takes the Scroll from the Presence on the Throne (5:1-14).

2. The Court is joined by the Angels to praise the Lord Jesus (5:13-14).

C. The Seven-Sealed Scroll is opened and activated (Revelation 6:1 through 8:1).

1. The first Four Seals are associated with the authority of the Four Living Creatures that surround the Throne (6:1-8).

2. The remaining three Seals seem to bring an end to all things.

a. The Fifth Seal reveals the Martyrs under the Altar (6:9-11).
b. The Sixth Seal brings destruction on earth and praise from the Heavenly Court (6:12-17).
c. The Seventh Seal brings total silence in heaven (8:1).

3. The content of Revelation chapter seven seems to be informative in nature, and is not easily understood as subsequent to or a sequel of the Sixth Seal.

a. The special sealing of the 144,000 is described (7:1-8).
b. The “great multitude” before the throne is assembled (7:9-17).

D. The Seven Trumpets are now sounded (Revelation 8:2 through 11:15).

1. The first Four Trumpets are executed in quick succession.

a. The First Trumpet brings the burning of 1/3rd of the Earth (8:7).
b. The Second Trumpet turns 1/3rd of the sea to blood (8:8-9).
c. The Third Trumpet turns 1/3rd of the rivers and springs to poison (8:10-11).
d. The Fourth Trumpet turns 1/3rd of the Sun, Moon and Day dark (8:12-13).

2. The next three Trumpets are identified as “Woes” on the Earth (8:13).

a. The Fifth Trumpet (1st Woe) opens the “Abyss” (9:1-12).
b. The Sixth Trumpet (2nd Woe) releases 4 angels to kill men (9:13-21).
c. The Two Witnesses are introduced (Revelation 11:1-13).
d. The Seventh Trumpet (3rd Woe) signals the end (11:15-19).

E. The vision of a Woman, a Great Dragon, and a 7-Headed Beast who are the key forces in these end time events (Revelation 12:1 through 14:20).

1. The Woman is called a “great sign” and is connected to God’s plan.

2. The “Dragon” with “7 heads and 10 horns” appears in heaven.

3. The Beast with 7 heads and 10 horns is identified and explained (13:1-18).

4. The Beast assisted by another “beast” with 2 horns (13:11-18)

5. The glorification of the 144,000 and their identification is noted (14:1-5).

6. Three great angels now make announcements to the Earth (14:6-11).

7. The Son of Man comes on a cloud to reap the Earth (14:14-20).

IV. The Seven Angels of Heaven now execute final judgment (Revelation 15:1 through 18:24).

A. Six angels pour out their “bowls” in quick succession, possibly together.

1. The First plagues men with “loathsome sores” (16:2).

2. The Second turns the sea into blood, killing all sea life (16:3).

3. The Third turns the rivers and springs into blood (16:4-7).

4. The Fourth heats the sun to scorch men (16:8-9).

5. The Fifth darkens the kingdom of the beast (16:10-11).

6. The Sixth dries up the Euphrates (16:12).

7. The Seventh Angel pours his bowl and announces the end (16:17-21).

B. The Beast now assembles an army, with the help of demons under the control of the beast and the false prophet, to fight against God at Armageddon (16:13-16).

1. The “Great Harlot” is revealed who sits astride the Beast (17:1-6, 16-18).

2. The Fall of “Babylon the Great” is described in detail (18:1-24).

C. The Multitudes in Heaven assemble to participate in the Victory of the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:1 through 19:21).

1. The “great multitude in heaven” shouts the victory declaration (19:1-8).

2. The Lord Himself mounts the White Horse to enter into the victory battle (19:11-16).

3. The Beast and the False Prophet are thrown in the lake of fire (19:20).

D. The Revelation now shows the events that bring in and end the 1000 years of righteous reign and peace (Revelation 20:1-15).

1. The angel with the “keys to the Abyss” comes to bind Satan (20:1-2).

2. The Devil is bound for 1000 years (20:2-3).

3. The “Great White Throne” is now the scene of final judgment (20:11-15).

4. The New Heavens and the New Earth are now instituted and described (Revelation 21:1 through 22:5).

5. The Lord Jesus verifies the words and the vision and adds His warnings for those who would dare to change His words (22:16-21).

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