BOOK OF REVELATION STUDY GUIDEGlenn TaylorI.Both testaments can be divided into History – Instruction – ProphecyRevelation is the only book of prophecy in the New Testament. Very important we note thisand realize we cannot study Revelation in the same way we study the book of Romans.II.Note the following keys to the bookKey Word – overcome – Nikao – victory or conquer – 2:7, 11, etc., 17: 14Key Verses – 1:1, 1: 19, 2: 10, 22: 18 – 19Key Phrase – Blessed are those who do HIS commandments – 22: 14Theme – Victory in Jesus, 11: 15, 17: 14To whom was it written? To the 7 churches and anyone who has an ear (1: 4; 2: 7)III.2 Categories of LanguageLiteral or FigurativeIV.ApocalypseGreek word for Revelation is Apokalupsis from which we get Apocalypse. The meaning is anunveiling or uncovering. The style of writing in Revelation is figurative and is known asapocalyptic literature.There are some characteristics of the apocalyptic style of writing:1.Grows out of some great conflict2. Visions3. Has a predictive element4. Symbolic language5. Drama
2V.Why use the apocalyptic (figurative, prophetic) style of writing?1. John is explaining visions in terms they could understand2. To obscure the message from the enemy3. To evoke certain emotionsVI.3 Principles that will help us1. We can understand the book even though we might not understand every sign/symbol.2. The book is presented in the form of a great drama.3. Perhaps the most important thing is for us to determine the original meaning the bookwould have had to the recipients.VII.Some critical background study1. Bible Geography2. AUTHOR – Jesus Christ to John (1: 1)Which John? Most of the evidence points to the Apostle John3. Recipients – Originally to the 7 churches of Asia, ESP TSP L, (1: 4)Also intended for all (1: 3, 2: 7, etc)4. Date –There are 2 dates generally suggestedAD 68 – prior to fall of JerusalemAD 96 – most widely accepted and the one we will use5. Theme – Noted earlier6. Purpose – see following page for thorough discussion
3VIII. The Purpose – Why was Revelation written?To understand this we must have some understanding of the historical events of the time. The shortanswer to the question is – To encourage the church during a period of Roman persecution andtribulation. The message was to remain faithful and not give up.Biblical Historical SettingAD 53 – Paul used Ephesus as a center in Asia – see Acts 19: 10AD 60-62 – Paul wrote the prison epistles of Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and PhilemonAD 70-95 – John spent much time in Ephesus and the province of Asia.Secular Historical Setting - Emperor WorshipJulius Caesar - date 45 BC statue with inscription “to the invincible god”Augustus Caesar – 27 BC to AD 14 – 1st Emperor of Rome – called himself “the son of god”Caligula, Nero, and Domitian – 3 of 1st Century Emperors of note in discussion of Emperor worshipAsia Minor was a hot bed for emperor worship.World Conditions On the Plus side - Roman Empire ruled the world – many advantages – language, roads, peaceOn the Negative side – The Emperors assumed the role of deity. Christians were put to theultimate test. Often had to have papers or a mark to signify they had worshipped the emperor.Note the early persecution was from the Jews. Later the persecution was from the Romans. When theRomans finally realized Christianity was not Judaism, then it became illegal.From Foxes’ Christian Martyrs1st Persecution – NeroAD 64 – 672nd Persecution – DomitianAD 81 - 963rd Persecution – TrajanAD 98 – 117See Halley’s Bible Handbook pg 761 ff
4IX.The Significance of Colors and Numbers(Adapted from Bill Wheeler material)Numbers1234567Unity, togetherness (One GOD)Confirmation, strength(two witnesses)Divine completeness, a sacred number, sometimes repeated 3 times for emphasis ( Father,Son and Holy Ghost)Earthly, completeness in nature, 4 corners of earth, 4 directions, etc5 and multiples (5, 10, 50,etc) signify human completeness (5 fingers)1 short of 7 implies imperfection, failure, sometimes even evil (666?)Perfection, completeness, inclusiveness10Again completeness from a human standpoint (10 fingers)Multiples (100, 1000) - Perfection, fullness or long indefinite period of time124 (earthly) multiplied times 3 (Divine) is symbolic in religion12 tribes, 12 apostles, 12 gates – 12 is a perfect number in Hebrew numerology12 times 12 times 1000 144,000 symbolic of the people of GOD3½7 cut in half – thus incompleteness or imperfection1250 days 3 ½ years42 months 3 ½ yearsColorsWhitepurity, righteousness, innocenceBlackdistress, calamityRedwar, bloodshedPalefamine, deathPurplepomp, luxury, royaltyScarlettcolor of blood thus persecution, suffering, cruelty
5X.Some Key Words(Adapted from Wayne Jackson’s study of Revelation material)Almighty –Gk pantokratorpan all, krateo to hold. 9 of 10 uses are in Revelation (2 Cor 6: 18).As early Christians faced death for the cause of Christ they needed to know GOD was in control.Throne – Gk thronosdignity, power, authority. ¾ of the uses are found in Revelation. On earth itsometimes appears that Satan occupies the throne but Deity still rules in spite of the temporary victoriesfor evil.Crown – 1. Gk stephanosthe victory crown – see 2: 102. Gk diademthe crown of royalty – see 12: 3, 13: 1, 19: 12 – the first 2 Satan claimsauthority but Christ will triumph.Lamb – 1. Gk amnos2. Gk arnionLamb for sacrifice – this term used in NT but not once in Revelation.Revelation term is Lamb which lives and is not marked for sacrifice (Jn 21: 15)Beasts - 1. Gk zoonmerely denotes a living creature – 4: 8, 9 – inappropriate to render beast inview of our present day connotation hence the modern translations use of livingcreature.2. Gk theriona wild beast – many scholars believe these beasts are symbolic of paganRome and later papal Rome – see mark of the beast.Horses – Gk hipposalmost always used as an instrument of war. In Revelation the horse is a symbolof the hostile, persecuting forces against Christianity.Forever and Ever – Gk eisfor, aionage, eternity. Sometimes used in OT as a limited period oftime (Exo 12: 14). But always used in NT to denote that which is unending – 1: 18, 4: 10 , etc.Must shortly take place – Gk en tacheidoes not mean at once or shortly but rather with speed,swiftness or quickly. Not all of Revelation would happen in the near future but it would start quickly. Asa matter of fact some of the things were already happening, see chapters 2-3. En tahei is used twice inRevelation (1: 1, 22: 6). The latter reference is talking about the 2nd coming which clearly shows thatevent did not happen soon but it will happen with suddenness in the future.
6XI.Approaches to the Book (Sections XI and XII adapted from Alan Highers’ material)1.Preterist – The term preterist means that which has gone by. The word preterist (past) isused in different ways, but here we use it to refer to one who believes the book of Revelationwas written before A.D. 70 and that it was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem and the fall ofthe Jewish state.2.Futurist – Futurist is just the opposite of preterist.The preterist believes nearly all ofRevelation has been fulfilled. The futurist believes that nearly all of Revelation is yet future,especially chapters 4 – 22. Many futurists believe in an earthly millennial reign to be establishedwhen Christ comes again. We call these premillenialists – pre (before) and millennium (1000).3.Historical – This method views the Book of Revelation as a blueprint of history, i.e., it lays outthe history of the church in symbolic form. According to this approach, much of the book dealswith the apostasy of the Roman Catholic Church, followed by the Reformation and theRestoration. Many of the older brethren, and older commentaries, took this view. John T. Hindswho wrote the Gospel Advocate commentary on Revelation held this view.4.Idealistic – The idealistic or “philosophy of history” method looks upon Revelation as asymbolic conflict between right and wrong. This approach to the book does not find any specificapplication of the signs and symbols. It sees the book as a representation of the age-old battlebetween good and evil and is unrelated to specific historical events.5.Contextual – The contextual view holds that Revelation grew out of the context of its owntime and circumstances. The churches of Asia were suffering persecution and hardship. TheRoman government was powerful and cruel. Some wondered if they could remain faithful. TheBook of Revelation was written to address this need. The author endeavors to encourage thepersecuted saints of his own day and, by application, the church throughout the ages.
7XII.Summary of the BookThis is not a comprehensive outline of the book. Rather, it is a chapter-by-chapter summary.The purpose of this section is to show the content of the book, not its meaning. Before we canlearn and understand its meaning, we first need to know what the book contains.Chapter1INTRODUCTIONAuthor (1: 1-2)Blessing (1: 3)Greeting (1: 4-6)Coming (1: 7-8)John on Patmos (1: 9-20)2LETTERS TO THE SEVEN CHURCHESEphesus (2: 1-7)Smyrna (2: 8-11)Pergamum (2: 13-17)Thyatira (2: 18-29)3LETTERS (continued)Sardis (3: 1-6)Philadelphia (3: 7-13)Laodicea (3: 14-22)4GOD ON THE THRONE24 Elders4 Living Creatures5BOOK WITH SEVEN SEALSWho could open?Answer: Worthy is the Lamb!6OPENING THE SEALSFirst (6: 1-2)Second (6: 3-4)Third (6: 5-6)Fourth (6: 6-8)Fifth (6: 9-11)Sixth (6: 12-17)
87SEALING OF THE SAINTS[Interlude]8SEVENTH SEAL – SOUNDING OF THE SEVEN TRUMPETSFirst (8: 7)Second (8: 8-9)Third (8: 10-11)Fourth (8: 12)Fifth (8: 13-9:11)9SEVEN TRUMPETS (continued)Sixth (9: 12-21)10THE LITTLE BOOK[Interlude]11MEASURING OF THE TEMPLE, THE TWO WITNESSES[Interlude continued]Sounding of the 7th Trumpet (11: 14-19)12, 13 THE WOMAN AND CHILDWar in HeavenPersecution of the WomanProtected in the wildernessBEAST from the sea (12: 17-13: 10)BEAST from the land (13: 11-18)14THE LAMB AND THE REDEEMED[Interlude}15, 16 THE SEVEN BOWLS OF WRATHInto the earth, sea, rivers and the fountains of watersUpon the sun, throne of the beast, the Euphrates, and upon the airFirst Bowl (16: 2) – EarthSecond Bowl (16: 3) – SeaThird Bowl (16: 4-7) – Rivers and FountainsFourth Bowl (16: 8-9) – SunFifth Bowl (16: 10-11) – Throne of the BeastSixth Bowl (16: 12-16) – EuphratesSeventh Bowl (16: 17-21) – AirBattle of Armageddon (16: 16)
917FALL OF BABYLON – THE GREAT HARLOTBabylon the Great, the Mother of HarlotsDrunk on the blood of the saints18REACTIONS TO THE FALL OF BABYLONLament by kings, merchants, and sailorsIn her was found the blood of the saints19REJOICING OVER THE FALL OF BABYLON (ROME)Avenged the blood of his saints (19: 1-5)Marriage Supper of the Lamb (19: 6-10)The conquering warrior (19: 11-21)20THE DEFEAT OF SATANBinding of Satan (20: 1-3)Reign of the Martyrs (20: 4-6)Loosing of Satan and his final destruction (20: 7-10)The Final Judgment (20: 11-15)21THE NEW JERUSALEMFellowship with GODDestiny of the RedeemedDescription of the Heavenly City22WATER OF LIFE AND TREE OF LIFE – CONCLUSIONFinal victory of the saints (22: 1-5)Warnings and admonitions (22: 6-21)Keep the sayings (22: 6-7)Worship GOD (22: 8-9)Remember judgment is approaching (22: 10-15)Hear the gospel invitation (22: 16-17)Do not add to nor take away from (22: 18-19)Jesus to come quickly in judgment (22: 20)Benediction (22: 21)
10Revelation Chapter 1I.Verses 1-3 Introduction and BenedictionWho is the writerThings which must shortly take place – en tacheiSignified – semainoBeatitude #1Revelation is a book of prophecyII.Verses 4-8 Greetings to the 7 churchesTo whom it was written - 7 churches – ESP TSP L – there were othersLike Paul begins book with grace and peaceNote 3 things said of ChristNote 5 points in verse 7Verse 8 – Christ spans all eternity – compare to John 1: 1Description of Christ – Compare to Daniel 7: 13 – 14III.Verses 9-20 1st Vision – Christ in the midst of the churchesJohn is companion in , &In the spiritα and Ω7 lampstands, 7 starsNote 3 “I am” statements Christ made of HimselfKeys of death and Hades
11The 7 CitiesEphesus Center of commerceKnown as the “market of Asia”Located on main route from Rome to EastCenter of politicsThe capital of Asia, the seat of the Roman governmentCenter of religionPagan worship – great temple of Diana there (Acts 19: 23-29)This temple 1 of 7 wonders of ancient world – larger than a football fieldUsed for ritual prostitutionstPopulation of 225,000 in 1 centuryLarge theatre with seating capacity of 50,000Greeks built large stadium there (685’ x 200’)Smyrna Seaport 40 miles north of Ephesus – founded by Alexander the GreatA very beautiful town – called “the first city of Asia” or “the flower of Asia”Located at foot of mountain that contained many temples to Greek godsWidely celebrated for its schools and medicineOlympic games thereLarge public library therePergamum 60 miles north of Smyrna near ancient city of TroyLocated on a hill overlooking a fertile valleyHad library of 200,000 volumes which Mark Antony gave to CleopatraHad theatre seating 15,000Parchment was invented thereKnown for its many temples the residents were called “the temple caregivers of Asia”City with many Greek gods and goddesses (Zeus, Apollo, Dionysus, Aphrodite, etc)When Persians captured Babylon, Babylonian priests escaped to Pergamum (ref Satan’s seat)Sensuality was common in PergamumCenter of emperor worship, first city in Asia to erect temple to worship emperor (Augustus Caesar, AD29)
12Thyatira On the Lycus between Pergamum and Sardis, 27 miles from PergamumSmallest and most insignificant of the 7 citiesWe would call it a blue collar townNoted for production of dyeThoroughly pagan city with worship of Apollo, the sun god, commonCity also had shrine to female goddess Sambathe some believe to be “Jezebel”Church probably started by Paul (Acts 19) or Lydia (Acts 16)Sardis Oldest city o