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Revelation 1 introduction

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Revelation 1 introduction

  1. 1. The Genre: type of literary work of a book, art or music belong. *Apocalypse: The category this book belongs. Use of symbols to convey message. - Symbols are not to be taken literally, except forced otherwise. - Under this category also are books like Daniel (6&7), Isaiah (6), Ezekiel (1,10,40) & Mark 13 to mention just few.
  2. 2. The Title The title “The Revelation of John” comes from chap. 1:1. Note the verse says that the revelation was from Christ, given him by God, from the purpose of making it known to his servants. This message was sent by a messenger to john, who was commended to write it in a book (1:11). The word: “REVELATION” (apocalypses) means to reveal or unveil that which has been hidden”. The Writer John says that Jesus commended him to write (1:10, 11, 19). John describes himself as “your brother and companion with you in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus” (v. 9). He is, of course the apostle who wrote the Gospel and the three shot Epistles. SEE NOTE SESSION
  3. 3. The book was first of all intended for the seven churches in Asia (1:4, 10, 11, ch. 2&3). However, what was written to one or all of these churches is also intended for all other churches of the Lord (2:7, and at the conclusion of each letter to the seven). In addition, 1:3 pronounces a blessing upon anyone who hears and keeps the words of this book (see 22:18, 19).
  4. 4. The ancient writers, Irenaeus (175A.D) says that this banishment of john to Patmos was during Emperor Domitian’s reign (18-19A.D). Various dates have been given to this book. They range from 68 – 96 A.D Scholars offer different arguments to support their varying dates, but the majority give 95-96A.D.
  5. 5. To comfort persecuted Christians. - God sees their tears (7:17, 21:4) - Their prayers move God to act (8:3-4) - Their death is precious in his sight (14:13) - Their final victory is assured (15:2) - Their blood will be avenged (6:9-17) - Christ rules forever (5:11-13) - Christ is coming again to receive his own (chapters 21, 22) SEE NOTE SESSION
  6. 6. One: Unity (Eph 5:31) Two: Strengthening (Jesus sent out disciples two–by–two) (Ecc 4:9-12) Three: Divine number (Father, Son and Holy Spirt) (2 Cor 13:14) Four: World or cosmic number (four winds of heaven; four corners of the earth) (Acts 10:11) Five: human completeness Seven: Number of perfection (divine: 3 plus cosmic: 4) - Use of the number seven (52 times) - Seven: churches, spirits, lampstands, stars, seals, horns, eyes, trumpets, thunders, signs, crowns, plagues, bowls, hills, kings, and others Six: Evil and sinister (short of perfect: 7, like “13” today in the U.S) Ten: Completeness (all fingers or toes) 1,000: Ultimate completeness Twelve: Organized religion (Mk 3:14) 3 ½: Period of instability and persecution (also found as 42 months, 1260 days, “a time, and half of a time”) SEE NOTE SESSION
  7. 7. 1. Blessed is he that reads this prophecy (1:3) 2. Blessed are the dead who die in the lord (14:13) 3. Blessed is he that watches and is prepared for the lords coming (16:15) 4. Blessed are those bidden to the lamb’s marriage supper (19:9). 5. Blessed is he that has part in the first resurrection (20:6) 6. Blessed is he that keeps the words of this book (22:7) 7. Blessed are they that wash their robes (KJV) “do his commandments”) (22:14). SEE NOTE SESSION
  8. 8. Four major interpretations or views of the book *Preterists: Events therein exclusive to 1st century times & had taken place. *Futurists: Events to be primarily at end of times *Historicists: Events from Patmos to end of history. *Idealists: Symbolic pictures of the truth that victory of good over evil is timeless. SEE NOTE SESSION
  9. 9. (a) Conditions of the empire (Rome) (b) Conditions of the church
  10. 10. *Rome was built on two things - Conquest (military) & Commerce (Pax Romana). - Between 27BC-97AD have had 11 Emperors (Caesars) Augustus | Tiberius | Caligula | Claudius | Nero | (Galba | Otto | Vitellius) | Vespasian | Titus | Domitian. *Rome was not only centre of government, but also of religion….many gods/deities’ worship allowed.
  11. 11. 1. Christianity was an illegal religion (religio illicita) until edict of Milan in 315AD. 2. Christianity’s universality vs. Empire’s state. 3. Christianity’s exclusivity was hated…. - so if no rain fall, blame them…too much rain (flood), blame them…defeat in battle, they were to blame. 4. Christians accused of all manner of evils: - Secrete services at night…’eating flesh & drinking blood’... etc. 5. Converts were mostly from the poor & outcast, so were looked down upon by the ‘respectable’ SEE NOTE SESSION
  12. 12. Rev 1:3,22:18-21 - Blessings for those that read & put to heart (obey) the message. - Condemnation for those that obey not, but are selective with what they do with the message. - Do you choose what to obey in the bible?
  13. 13. - It’s about Christ the revealer & revealed as well. - He had died, but had also risen. Had gone & to be back. - His church may suffer, but can’t be destroyed. Evil may exist, but can’t be victorious. - The message was: it may get worse, before it gets better.

Notas do Editor

  • INTRODUCTION
    The book of revelation is the most unusual book in the New Testament. However, it is not that unique in the bible as a whole, because the Old Testament prophets used very similar symbolic language, such language called apocalyptic (“unveiling”) language was often used by the prophets to describe the downfall of nations who were opposed to God. During the 400 year period between the old and new testaments, this type of writing was very common. Therefore, what seems to be mysterious and even foreboding to the modern reader was quite familiar to Christians in the first century, especially to those with a Jewish background.
    If we keep two basic issues in mind from the beginning of our study, we are much less likely to get confused and far more likely to understand the life – impacting message of revelation. First, the language is clearly symbolic. Whether beasts, colors, numbers, or cataclysmic events are being depicted, we should not try to force a literal interpretation. The general guide to biblical interpretation is to allow clear passages to interpret less clear ones. Certainly no symbolic passage should be interpreted in a way which would contradict clear passages on the same subject. If religious “scholars” would keep this one basic fact in mind, the myriads of fanciful interpretations of revelation could be avoided.

    Symbolic language is addressed primarily to the heart and imagination rather than to the intellect. In the midst of trying times and great persecution, faith needs to be strengthened mightily and hope restored in the fact that all things truly are under the control of the sovereign God. Revelation is designed to cause faith to soar on wings of eagles, even when facing death for the cause of Jesus. Death before denial is a possibility only when faith is incredibly strong. As we try to grasp the meaning of these symbols, the best approach is to look for the main lesson without trying to assign some specific meaning to every small detail. Many of these details are simply part of the dramatic scene God is creating in order to stir our imaginations and hearts,

    Second, revelation was written against a backdrop of serious persecution in the early period of Christianity. The nation of Rome had been “defiled” in the minds of many of its citizens and leaders. The roman emperors assumed more and more power until certain individuals demanded to be worshipped as “a god” when Caesar demanded to be honored in such a way the disciple of Jesus had a serious choice to make. He could say “Caesar is Lord” and avoid persecution, economic discrimination, and possible death; or, he could refuse and face extreme consequences. In that setting, the confession “Jesus is Lord” was far more than a baptismal formula. It was a pledge to Christ and to his church of death before denial.

    With such a background of historic persecution, it should be somewhat obvious that revelation designed to help specific Christians face specific problems in a specific setting. Common sense should tell us that the book was not written as a 20th century newspaper, as many people today mistakenly assume. As we begin our study, recognize that you are about to see a divine drama unfold through a progression of symbolic visions. Good and evil are engaged in combat, in a fight to the death, god and Satan are locked in a bloody battle through their agents – angels and demons; righteous humans and evil humans. As the drama begins and ends, the message is clear. Jesus is Lord of lords and emperor of emperors. He has won the war, and therefore can be trusted in the midst of any of its individual battles. While the price tag for being a disciple has always been everything one is and has, the cost in this early setting was unmistakable:
    DEATH BEFORE DENIAL


  • GENERAL BACKGROUND
    The Title
    The title “The Revelation of John” comes from 1:1. Note the verse says that the revelation was from Christ, given him by God, from the purpose of making it known to his servants. This message was sent by a messenger to john, who was commended to write it in a book (1:11).
    The word: revelation (apocalypses) means to reveal or unveil that which has been hidden”.
     
    The Writer
    John says that Jesus commended him to write (1:10, 11, 19).
    John describes himself as “your brother and companion with you in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus” (v. 9). He is, of course the apostle who wrote the Gospel and the three shot Epistles.
     
    To Whom the Book Was Written
    The book was first of all intended for the seven churches in Asia (1:4, 10, 11, ch. 2&3).
    However, what was written to one or all of these churches is also intended for all other churches of the Lord (2:7, and at the conclusion of each letter to the seven).
    In addition, 1:3 pronounces a blessing upon anyone who hears and keeps the words of this book (see 22:18, 19).
  • Date of writing
    John explains in 1:9 that he was “on the island of Patmos, because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus”. The ancient writers, Irenaeus (175A.D) says that this banishment of john to Patmos was during Emperor Domitian’s reign (18-19A.D).
    Various dates have been given to this book. They range from 68 to 96 A.D scholars offer different arguments to support their varying dates, but the majority give 95-96A.D.
  •  
    Basic Purpose of the Book
    To comfort persecuted Christians.
    God sees their tears (7:17, 21:4).
    Their prayers move God to act (8:3-4)
    Their death is precious in his sight (14:13)
    Their final victory is assured (15:2)
    Their blood will be avenged (6:9-17).
    Christ rules forever (5:11-13)
    Christ is coming again to receive his own (chapters 21, 22).
     

  • Use of numbers as symbols
    One – unity
    Two – strengthening (Jesus sent out disciples two – by – two)
    Three – divine number (Father, Son and Holy Spirt)
    Four – world or cosmic number (four winds of heaven; four corners of the earth)
    Seven – number of perfection (divine: 3 plus cosmic: 4) - Use of the number seven (52 times)
    - Seven: churches, spirits, lampstands, stars, seals, horns, eyes, trumpets, thunders, signs, crowns, plagues, bowls, hills, kings, and others

    Six – evil and sinister (short of perfect: 7, like number “13” today in the U.S)
    Ten – completeness (all fingers or toes)
    1,000 – ultimate completeness
    Twelve – organized religion
    3 ½ - period of instability and persecution (also found as 42 months, 1260 days, “a time, and half of a time”)
     
  • The seven beatitudes of revelation:
    Blessed is he that reads this prophecy (1:3)
    Blessed are the dead who die in the lord (14:13)
    Blessed is he that watches and is prepared for the lords coming (16:15)
    Blessed are those bidden to the lamb’s marriage supper (19:9).
    Blessed is he that has part in the first resurrection (20:6)
    Blessed is he that keeps the words of this book (22:7)
    Blessed are they that wash their robes (KJV) “do his commandments”) (22:14).
     
  • Theories of interpretation

    Continuous historical view
    Considers the book to be a blueprint of the history of Western Europe.
    Places the symbols in chronological order and focuses on the Roman Catholic Church.
    Most protestant commentators around the time of the reformation and beyond, such as Alfred Barnes and Adam Clarke, took this view.

    Weakness:
    Difficulty lies in limiting the events to western Europe
    Removes the book from the first century church setting.
    Places the commentators and his era at the end of time and just before the second coming of Christ. Therefore, subsequent commentators must be changing the various events.
     
    Futurist view
    Makes most of the events described in the book fit the “end times” just before Christ’s return. Thus, this theory holds that most of the book is yet unfulfilled.
    Many of the symbols, especially numbers, are taken quite literally.
    Most futurists are also “premillennialists” some common premillennial views.
    Christ will return to earth and rule for a literal 1,000 years.
    Most who hold this view teach that seven years before this return, the righteous will experiences a “rapture” (catching up) from the earth, while those left on earth will experience the “great Tribulation”.
    Many modern church writers and leaders hold this view, Hal lindsy being one of the most popular.

    Weaknesses:
    The view ignores the fact that Jesus is now sitting on David’s throne, reigning over his kingdom. (Isa 2:2-3; Dan 2:24-45; Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:14-41)
    There is one bodily resurrection of both good and evil (John 5:28-29), not two or more as the rapturists teach (also compare john 6:40 and john 12:48 – one last day).
    The view removes the book from its original setting of Christians being persecuted and killed in the early centuries of the church. What comfort would a “20th century newspaper” type of prophecy bring to people being killed for their faith?
    Finally, this position is filled with distortions of scriptures, and fanciful interpretations cooked with a “dash” of Ezekiel a “shake” of Daniel, and “scoops” of revelation, and other NT books. In spite of its popularity, the view has little to commend it from a biblical perspective.
     
    Philosophy of History (Spiritual) view
    This approach views the visions and symbols as a series of visionary descriptions of God’s triumph over evil.
    Thus, the book is concerned with inspiring courage in the church in its constant struggle with evil throughout the ages.

    Weakness:
    The basic interpretation of the symbolism involved is generally free of excesses, but not as specific as the persecution setting would warrant in the early church.
     
    Praeterist view
    This view, meaning “past” holds that the bulk of revelation has already been fulfilled in the days of the Roman Empire.
    It would allow the latter part of the book to describe judgment and eternity beyond it.
    Whereas the “philosophy of history” view sees it as a general description of the ongoing battle between good and evil with the early church finding application, the Praeterist view sees it as a specific description of the early church locked in battle with the Roman Empire persecution.

    Weakness:
    The “claimed” weakness is that little application is left for the church in other ages.
    However, every other NT book was written with a primary application to the 1st century church. Since the word is “living and active,” it is highly applicable to every generation with those same needs and problems.

  • 1.Christianity was an illegal religion (religio illicita) until edict of Milan in 315AD. *Constantine brought this about. Before then other forms of religion were accepted, but not Christianity.
    *They were despised for their insistence in one GOD and their way as the ONLY way.

    2.Christianity’s universality vs Empire’s state
    As far as the state(empire) was concerned, the world start and end in the state (Rome as capital).
    All must be done to promote it.
    But to the Christians, the whole world was the focus and bigger picture.

    3.Christianity’s exclusivity was hated
    *Christians were ‘exclusive’ in attitude towards societal vices and worldly values. They were not participating in pagan rituals for instance
    -so if no rain falls, it’s blamed on them…….too much rain(flood), it’s blamed on them…defeat in battles, they were to blame.

    4.Christians were accused of all manner of ‘evils’ ....They held secrete services at night
    (Acts 20:7-9) may come to mind.

    …’eating flesh & drinking blood’(1 Corinthians 10:16) may be the reference. And so many more.

    But, known of them were misunderstanding of the Christians’ faith and practices

    5.Christians refused to go to war
    Two reasons for this decision:
    1.Part of the oath & initiation of soldiers included service to state idols & wearing of idolatrous insignia
    2.Christ had taken their swords & given them (bible).

    6.Christ vs Caesar
    ….It was either the worship of Christ or Caesars….


  • INTRODUCTION
    The book of revelation is the most unusual book in the New Testament. However, it is not that unique in the bible as a whole, because the Old Testament prophets used very similar symbolic language, such language called apocalyptic (“unveiling”) language was often used by the prophets to describe the downfall of nations who were opposed to God. During the 400 year period between the old and new testaments, this type of writing was very common. Therefore, what seems to be mysterious and even foreboding to the modern reader was quite familiar to Christians in the first century, especially to those with a Jewish background.
    If we keep two basic issues in mind from the beginning of our study, we are much less likely to get confused and far more likely to understand the life – impacting message of revelation. First, the language is clearly symbolic. Whether beasts, colors, numbers, or cataclysmic events are being depicted, we should not try to force a literal interpretation. The general guide to biblical interpretation is to allow clear passages to interpret less clear ones. Certainly no symbolic passage should be interpreted in a way which would contradict clear passages on the same subject. If religious “scholars” would keep this one basic fact in mind, the myriads of fanciful interpretations of revelation could be avoided.
    Symbolic language is addressed primarily to the heart and imagination rather than to the intellect. In the midst of trying times and great persecution, faith needs to be strengthened mightily and hope restored in the fact that all things truly are under the control of the sovereign God. Revelation is designed to cause faith to soar on wings of eagles, even when facing death for the cause of Jesus. Death before denial is a possibility only when faith is incredibly strong. As we try to grasp the meaning of these symbols, the best approach is to look for the main lesson without trying to assign some specific meaning to every small detail. Many of these details are simply part of the dramatic scene God is creating in order to stir our imaginations and hearts,
    Second, revelation was written against a backdrop of serious persecution in the early period of Christianity. The nation of Rome had been “defiled” in the minds of many of its citizens and leaders. The roman emperors assumed more and more power until certain individuals demanded to be worshipped as “a god” when Caesar demanded to be honored in such a way the disciple of Jesus had a serious choice to make. He could say “Caesar is Lord” and avoid persecution, economic discrimination, and possible death; or, he could refuse and face extreme consequences. In that setting, the confession “Jesus is Lord” was far more than a baptismal formula. It was a pledge to Christ and to his church of death before denial.
    With such a background of historic persecution, it should be somewhat obvious that revelation designed to help specific Christians face specific problems in a specific setting. Common sense should tell us that the book was not written as a 20th century newspaper, as many people today mistakenly assume. As we begin our study, recognize that you are about to see a divine drama unfold through a progression of symbolic visions. Good and evil are engaged in combat, in a fight to the death, god and Satan are locked in a bloody battle through their agents – angels and demons; righteous humans and evil humans. As the drama begins and ends, the message is clear. Jesus is Lord of lords and emperor of emperors. He has won the war, and therefore can be trusted in the midst of any of its individual battles. While the price tag for being a disciple has always been everything one is and has, the cost in this early setting was unmistakable:
    DEATH BEFORE DENIAL

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