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Revelation Part 1 – Introduction

Revelation Part 1 – Introduction

Revelation: Part 1




Theme of Revelation is “Victory!” Rev. 17:14

God is in ultimate control of history and events and fully capable of bringing men and events to His desired ends. Therefore, “be thou faithful unto death.” Rev. 2:10

This doesn’t just mean be faithful until you die. It means be faithful even when faced with death.

Whose Revelation is it? Revelation 1:1

2 Timothy 4:17-18
“Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Date: I hold to a late date (but not so late as to be second century or later).

95 or 96 AD at the end of Domitian’s reign. External evidence for this:

Justin Martyr (AD 110-165) in his Dialogue with Trypho the Jew says “There was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied by a revelation,” and then refers to the thousand years, the resurrection and the judgment of Revelation 20.

Irenaeus (AD 120-202) who had heard Polycarp, a disciple of John the apostle, wrote in his Against Heresies, “John, also the Lord’s disciple…says in the Apocalypse,” and then quotes profusely from that book. Later Irenaeus says “In a still clearer light has John, in the Apocalypse” revealed certain things, which he discusses in detail.

Clement of Alexandria (AD 153-217) in his treatise, Who is the Rich Man that Shall Be Saved? Writes of “the apostle John” who “returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos” after “the tyrant’s death.” The tyrant is unnamed.

Also Tertullian (AD 145-220), Origen (185-254), Hippolytus (AD 170-236), Victorinus (died in the persecution of AD 303) all refer heavily to material in Revelation, and also speak to the authorship of John the Apostle.

Five Major Schools of Interpretation to the Book of Revelation

I.                 Futurist

II.               Continuous Historical

III.              Passed View

IV.              Philosophy of History View

V.               Historical Background Interpretation


1.      Futurist – Holds that the first 3 chapters were written to Christians living then. Chapters 4-19 will be fulfilled in a seven year tribulation period at the second coming of Christ. Basis for this thought is Daniel 9:24-27 and Ezekiel 40-44. Temple being described not built – the church was an afterthought of God and will be raptured silently.

a.      Premillenialism

b.      Dispensationalist View – Darby founded “Plymouth Brethren” Ideas were included in the Scoffield Reference Bible – Hal Linsey “Late Great Planet Earth”

2.      Continuous Historical – the book mainly sets out the history of the Roman Catholic Church, the rise and fall of the Pope. Albert Barnes Commentary holds this view. All follow this interpretation that these events are linked to history.
OBJECTION TO THESE TWO SCHOOLS: Rev. 1:1 “…what must soon take place.” The views given put things off two thousand years from hose the book was written to or they put too much on the Catholic Church. When any event associated in history with the book, people loose confidence in the Bible when they should loose confidence in the interpretation.

3.      Passed View – Interpret the book as all taken place under the rule of either Nero (AD 54-68) or Domitian (AD 81-96) – Not enough persecution in Asia, only Rome under Nero, and the time factor will not permit Domitian’s reign to fulfill all the persecutions.

4.      Philosophy of History View – Says never try to pinpoint events in Revelation – beast in Chapter 13 applies to any secular leader at any time in history that persecutes the church. Some comfort to the 1st century and also to us.

5.      Historical Background Interpretation – Says we should look at the historical background of the people, church, and their needs to whom the book was written. There are possible applications to every age. This is the appropriate view.

a.      It was written to specific people at a specific time.

b.      It uses historical references and imagery specific and understandable to a specific people and time.

c.      God made sure that it was included in the scriptures, and therefore it bears application for us.

d.      While some of the figures may not be able to be identified, the message can be ascertained.