Good evening, and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Revelation. Tonight will be study #1. We are going to begin by reading the first three verses of Revelation chapter 1, verses 1-3:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
I will stop reading there. Now to begin with, let us just discuss the book, itself, as a whole. This book of the Bible is probably the most fascinating Scripture there is to many people. It is the last book that God wrote and, fittingly, it brings all of God’s divine revelation to an exciting climax. The Bible closes at the end of the book of Revelation. Revelation has 22 chapters, and towards the end of chapter 22 God makes the dramatic statement that whoever adds to the words of this book, or subtracts from the words of this book, that the plagues written herein will be added unto him! That is, do not add to the words of the book of Revelation, nor to the words of the Bible, any longer. You can be sure God is telling us He will no longer give divine revelation of any kind to any man, ever again! He is finished composing His book.
He began with Moses in about the 15th century B.C. until the first century A.D., in a period of time of some 1,500 years, God moved prophets of old to record His communication to mankind. With the book of Revelation, God finished that revelation. He closed the canon and never again would He add to it.
This is a great help to every child of God who has lived in the New Testament age, because we do not have to wonder at all if someone comes along and says, “God spoke to me in a dream last night,” or “God has given me a tongue,” and “God has shown me a vision.” If anyone comes along and says that God spoke to them in whatever manner, we can know, absolutely and with certainty, that it is not from God! God’s communication, everything that He wanted to say in the written word, is found within the Bible from Genesis through Revelation, the sixty-six books we have in our present-day King James version. This is all the communication of God to us.
Now, of course, in these last days, in the time of the Great Tribulation, it was God’s plan to open the Scriptures, that is, to open up the written word we already have, to reveal more truth, but it is coming from these sixty-six books, and no other. So, wonderfully, we have come to the book of Revelation, and we are going to begin studying this book.
The book of Revelation, some theologians say, is full of hyperbolic language. You may wonder, “Well, what does that mean?” It is actually, to be blunt, very much like a theologian to make statements that are difficult for the average person to understand. We do not need to speak of hyperbolic language. To put it plainly, what that means (even though they would not admit it, but it is a fact), is that the book of Revelation is written in parabolic form; it is full of parables!
And we will find, as we go through this book, Lord willing, from its beginning to its end, that the book of Revelation speaks of things that are, again, fascinating, and it will give us a glimpse into God’s throne room in Heaven, and some of its activities. The book of Revelation will show us a “mysterious book” that has seven seals around it to seal the book, and the book of Revelation will describe the unsealing of that “mysterious book.”
We can expect, as we continue on, to find information concerning various colored horses going forth into the earth, and the description that God gives to each one of them. As we continue to read, we will see the sealing of 144,000, and of a Great Multitude of saints that suddenly appear in Heaven.
We will read of horrible judgments on the third part, and following this, a plague of locusts that overcomes the earth and torment men for five months. We will also read of 200,000,000 horsemen whose horses issue fire and smoke and brimstone out of their mouths!
We will see two witnesses that, at first, are given authority and power by God, then they are killed by a beast that comes out of a bottomless pit. The two witnesses lie dead in a street, and after three and a half days, they resurrect and stand upon their feet.
We also read information concerning a red dragon that pursues a woman that had given birth to a manchild. The manchild was caught up unto Heaven, but the red dragon continues to pursue the woman into the wilderness, where she is nourished of God for a period of time.
We will read exciting accounts of a war in Heaven and the devil being cast out by Michael the Archangel.
We will read of a beast that rises up out of the sea to a great position of power and authority in the world, to such a position that all that dwell upon the earth, the Bible says in Revelation, shall worship the beast. We will read of an image made to the beast, which had life and could speak.
Then we will read the horrible account of the wrath of God upon the unsaved people of the world. A great winepress will come into view, of God’s wrath, as He casts a vine full of the cluster of the grapes of the earth into the winepress, and blood comes out flowing unto sixteen hundred furlongs!
We will see that seven angels carry seven last plagues, as they come out of the temple of Heaven, and these seven angels, carrying the seven vials of these seven last plagues, pour them out. Of these plagues, waters turn to blood, the beast’s kingdom is full of darkness, and the river Euphrates dries up.
We will continue to read of Mystery Babylon, the mother of harlots, as she experiences the judgment of God. Babylon falls. We will spend some time looking at the description of the fall of Babylon in “one hour.”
Then we will see the glorious bride of Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb. The Lamb will be seen upon a white horse, and all the armies of Heaven also will be on their white horses, as they do battle with the enemies of the Kingdom of God.
Continuing on, we will read of the devil being bound for 1,000 years, and then loosed “for a little season.” Also, we will read of the souls of them beheaded for the witness of Jesus, who live and reign with Christ for 1,000 years.
We will see a glorious description of the new Heavens and the new Earth, and the wonderful news that God dwells with His people forever more. And those people will have all tears wiped away, and no more pain or sorrow will ever come to them again, nor death. It is a tremendous and wonderful picture of the eternal life that God gives to His saints!
And, finally, concluding this incredible book of the Bible, we will read of New Jerusalem and a stunning and beautiful description of the City of God. Then, finally, the end of time and the beginning of eternity, and the desire of God’s people that the Lord Jesus Christ “come quickly.”
Any attempt to thoroughly study the book of Revelation is a daunting task. This book has confounded all who have attempted to learn of its mysteries throughout the church age. But we are encouraged because we know why, during the church age, no one was ever able to correctly and rightly divide the truth found in the book of Revelation: it is because of what Revelation itself tells us, that a book was sealed; the Bible was sealed until the time of the end!
Much of the information that God sealed up in the Scriptures is found in this particular book of the Bible, because the focus of the book of Revelation is on the time of the Great Tribulation, and the judgment of mankind at the end of the world. This information was “sealed” by God throughout the ages and the centuries of the New Testament church age. As a result of that, when a theologian (even a most faithful theologian) approached this book, as well as other books of the Bible concerning the end, and they dived into a study, and put forth tremendous amounts of effort, and were diligent in their attempts to uncover the truths of the book of Revelation, they could not overcome God’s plan, because of the timeline of history.
So a faithful child of God and faithful student of the Bible, for example, in the period of the Reformation, would have been resisted by the Spirit of God Himself, in uncovering certain truths of Revelation. Of course, they could know some things, and they did get some things right. But, overall, God resisted the attempts by some to dig out and uncover the hidden nuggets of truth that are found in this book. Not until the time of the End, the period of the Great Tribulation, would God take the seals off the Bible and, therefore, take the seals off of the book of Revelation.
It is also true, as we have gone along in this period of time of the End, and we have this vantage point of having gone through the 23-year Great Tribulation period, that now we are able to understand more things concerning this book than we had previously understood.
So we dare, for these reasons: that God has opened up the Bible, that God’s Spirit is working with His people, and He is granting His people understanding and the ability to “see” and comprehend truths that have never been able to be understood before. And, for these reasons, we dare to open up a Bible study and to attempt to go through the book of Revelation, verse by verse, as much as we can, following the same methodology we would follow with any book of the Bible.
And all the while, beseeching the Lord and asking Him for wisdom, that He would grant us ability to discern “good from evil,” to discern right from wrong, and truth from a lie. As we look through this book of Revelation, we are hopeful to be able to explain and discuss all the things that were mentioned, all of the mysteries of this book, and all the strange and unusual language found within this book.
We hope to explain many of them, and many other things that we did not mention (earlier), but we hope to explain these, knowing that it is only by God’s grace if we are able to explain anything at all, and by His mercy, and by His goodness, and due to the point in time that we find ourselves in.
We are at the point where the Bible is an open book: the seals are off, and God has been pleased to reveal a great many things to us and, so, now we do dare to come to this book and go through it. We do expect to be able to go through the whole book, and to answer many of the questions that this book presents.
Well, we will begin studying Revelation, chapter 1 and verse 1. Let us just say this for now, in this particular study, (regarding) the word “Revelation” in the first verse, and let me read it again:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass…
The word “Revelation” is a Greek word, “apokalupsis,” and that is where you will find that language of the “Apocalypse;” it comes from this word that is translated in the English as “Revelation.” The name of the book of Revelation is derived from this opening statement that God moved the Apostle John to write. We do know that the earthly writer was John. There is no question about that, because in verse 9 he mentions his name:
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and it is His testimony. That is, it is Christ’s witness to what God has given Him. Of course, Jesus Himself is Eternal God. This book (and this is also true of the whole Bible) is Christ’s testimony. He is, as it were, saying, “These things are true and faithful.” He has taken an oath, and He is witnessing to us as though He were on the stand and under oath, and telling us, “These are the facts of the Kingdom of Heaven. These are the truths of God. You can trust every single word, and every letter, every “jot and tittle.” You can trust everything in this book, the Bible, and in this book of the Bible called Revelation. It is my testimony.”
He is giving it to us, the Revelation of Jesus Christ and, as a result of that, it is no surprise at all that within this Revelation we read of things to come, things that have been, and things that are, because God is “from everlasting to everlasting,” and He is always present. He is the great I AM. It is nothing for Him to know the future of a few years of time on earth, to look ahead and to see what will happen, and what He will do and what He is going to bring about—concerning the church, concerning the unsaved people of the world, and concerning His children, the Elect.
It is nothing for God to hide these mysteries in the written word, to hide them as water in a well is hidden when dirt is thrown upon it, and to seal them up until a certain point. And it is nothing for God (when once that point of time is reached), to “unseal” them, to ‘dig out the dirt’ and now to make the “water” readily available to His people, and to open up their minds to understand and to “see” what He had hidden therein. That is nothing for God to do! It is nothing for God to finally bring the destruction of this world, the end of all things.
And it is nothing for God to speak and to create a new Heaven and a new Earth, and to equip His saints with new resurrected bodies, and then to turn the attention and the focus away from the things of this life and this creation (which will be gone forever more), and turn them to the eternal future. Will it be anything for God to bring that about? No.
It is only from our perspective that these things seem to be taking so long and to be so difficult, and we worry and wonder, “Will God ever fulfill the things we read in this Bible and in this book of Revelation?” And, of course, He will, and He has, and He is currently fulfilling many of these things in the book of Revelation.
We will see, by the grace of God as we continue in this study, that much of the book of Revelation,in fact, MOST of the book of Revelation, has already been fulfilled, and very little is actually left to come to pass!
And, then, when all is done, we will testify along with Jesus Christ in eternity future, of the greatness and the glory of our God, and that, certainly, His testimony was true and faithful altogether!