If you love to read mystery books, the book of Revelation is the book for you. It’s a wonderful book with fascinating creatures that have multiple heads and eyes, they fly and talk, they also willingly worship a loving God and a conquering King named Jesus. Jesus and His Father, are determined to end world suffering and injustice by defeating a diabolical enemy, whose led the world into unbelievable chaos and turmoil.
The book ends with imagery of a new heaven, a new earth, and a New Jerusalem. All three are under control of Jesus the Christ, the one who delivered the people from the power of sin and death. Because of Him, they will enjoy life on earth with family and friends without oppression and suppression, they will live forever, no more sorrow, no more poverty, no more tears, nor more sickness, no more disease, no more death, no more corporate greed or corruption, no more corrupt government officials, no more racism, no more classism all are equally loved and honored.
Chapter one tells us who wrote the book of Revelation and why. It tells us John wrote the book, however in some parts he was only the transcriptionist, he wrote what the resurrected son of God, Jesus Christ of Nazareth told him to write.
In other chapters he simply wrote down what he saw about events pertaining to his time and ours.
Are we experiencing some of those events now?
In this brief overview, we will review scripture and commentary from scholars and theologians to help us rightly divide the word of God.
Thank you for taking this journey with me.
Let’s do this!
But first, let’s pray. Father I pray that you will open our eyes to see and understand hidden truths in your word. Truths that were hidden from religious elites but revealed to your humble servants. Those willing to know the truth, those willing to seek truth and obey truth when they find it. Help us Lord to remain faithful unto the end for we are truth seekers, we want to obey the truth you reveal to us until we breathe our last breath on earth. Amen
REVELATION CHAPTER 1
Revelation 1:1 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:
It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Which God gave to Him, to give to us- to show us things that must shortly take place.
Revelation 1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
John was an eyewitness to the things he wrote; these are things he saw and heard in heaven before God, Jesus Christ his Son, the Angels, the 24 elders, and the beasts.
Revelation 1:3 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.
We are blessed if we read, hear, and keep the words in this book. The word keep means to guard and protect. We are encouraged to protect the revelation or information we are about to receive because Satan will come to steal what we learn through outright lies and crafty arguments designed to cause doubt and unbelief.
Remember Jesus said, “the sower sows the word but Satan comes immediately to take away the word that is sown.” (Mark 5:14-15)
You will also notice that John said the time is at hand. Some bible versions say the time is near. You may say, the time has been at hand or near for a long time.
But Scholars say the phrase at hand or near, simply means “imminent or pending, a projection, an estimate or forecast of a future situation, based on a study of present ones. In essence, the book of Revelation makes its demand on the present-not that is specifies a particular time frame.”
Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
John bestows grace and peace from God and the seven spirits and Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, upon readers.
One author noted John mentions grace and peace instead of peace and grace because we cannot have peace until God shows us grace.
Grace (unmerited favor and love) has been shown to us because of Jesus Christ. We only have grace and peace because Jesus died on the cross to redeem us from sin. I know we hear the phrase – Jesus died on the cross for us quite often but what does that mean?
Did He have to die to save us from our sins? I mean, did He really have to die for God to forgive us? Was that really necessary?
Was there some other way? Unfortunately, there was no other way. When Adam and Eve sinned, death entered the world. Therefore, we all die. Only Jesus possessed life within Himself, He is life. If the one possessing life died and came back to life again, death would be defeated.
Not only would He defeat death, but He would defeat the power of sin- death’s prelude.
So, you see what a wonderful thing he did for us. We sinned so we deserved death. Yes, we still die, but He died so death does not have to be permanent! Death is only temporary for believers.
The Second Death
John 8:51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.
The word “see” means to experience. Those willing to submit to Christ will not experience the 2nd death. The second death refers to being sent to hell because of unbelief and not overcoming sin.
The book of Revelation mentions the second death at least four times. Our sin is no surprise to God, He knows all about our sin and still loves us.
He knows about your sin but His main goal or desire is to help you overcome it, if you want help.
Remember Jesus said, He did not come to judge the world but to save it (John 12:47). His main goal is to help you overcome sin and not judge you at this time. There will be time for judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) but it’s not now.
Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
John Gill says, “Christ, at his first coming, came not under the character of a judge, but a Savior; and suitable to his character…….. he would not accuse, condemn, or judge any man, even the greatest unbelievers in him, and despisers of him, but would leave them to another day, when righteous judgment shall take place.”
As long as you have breath in your body, you have a chance to overcome any sin that has the potential to keep your name out of the Lambs book of life.
The Book of Life?
Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
The Word of God is a Judge
One important thing to remember is that although Jesus doesn’t judge, there is a judge ruling on earth. And this judge is patient but fierce. And the Judge’s name is……the word of God. For example-Live by the sword die by the sword (Matthew 26:52). You reap what you sow (Galatians 6:9), If you set a trap you will fall into it (Proverbs 26:27). Adulterers, fornicators and drunkards shall not enter into the kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21).
Scripture says, because correction for sin doesn’t come immediately, people think it’s safe to sin (Ecclesiastes 8:11), they think God doesn’t correct us for sin (Psalm 10:13) or they think He is not real (Psalm 14:1). However, God doesn’t execute judgment or correction quickly, because He is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love (Psalm 145:8).
Most of the time He just allows spiritual laws to take affect. If you sow evil you will reap evil, if you sow good, meaning you do good things in your life, you will reap good things in your life. If you set a trap for someone to make them look bad you will probably fall into the trap yourself and suffer the consequences. If you are an adulterer or fornicator you may experience negative effects on earth, divorce or sexually transmitted disease, but the greatest problem you may face is eternal separation from God, as noted in Revelation 22:14-15. That’s why scriptures blessed are those whose sins are forgiven (Psalm 32:1)
Let’s look at a few scriptures regarding the matter:
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
Dogs do not refer to animals but certain kinds of people! So you see God will let the word or law judge us in it’s own time. Therefore, it is important to take make sure we are living according to his divine statues now!
Remember judgment is patient but fierce, whether we experience it now or on judgment day. We will have to give an account for how we lived our lives.
Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
God Doesn’t Show Favoritism
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary says, iniquity means violation of law or (generally) wickedness, or transgression of the law, unrighteousness.
In the above verses, Jesus is speaking to professing Christians, claiming to know Him. They prophesied in his name and cast out devils but apparently did not obey Him.
In Mark 9:7, God said of Jesus, “This is my beloved Son listen to Him.” We are to know what Christ taught and obey Him.
Jesus taught about marriage and divorce, tithing, paying taxes, honoring parents, etc. We will discuss more of Christ’s teachings later in our study but just remember God said, “This is my Son listen to Him.” He also gave an interesting reason why people don’t want to listen to Him.
They don’t want to listen to him because Satan is their Father and they want to do what their father does and that is sin.
“Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word.
“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:43-44 ESV
“Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” John 8:47
Ron Matsen, said “We are not all children of God, we are all created by God but we are not all children of God. Only those who believe and obey Christ are adopted into God’s holy and royal family.”
So the question is…whose your father? Is it God or Satan? If Satan is your father, You will have to join him in the place God has prepared for him as noted in, Matthew 25:41 ” Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
In 2 Corinthians 13:5 the Apostle Paul tells us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith or not….Are you a worker of iniquity?
Is Satan your Father or is God your Father. If you are a worker of iniquity, God want’s you to know that He loves you and He’s not holding your sin against you. But in order to avoid the lake of fire or the second death you must acknowledge your condition. This begins by confessing your sins. Scripture says, if we confess our sin He is willing and able to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We do the confessing, he does the cleansing!
This is an important step as this is called repentance, when we confess to God, that our actions and attitudes are wrong we are on the path of reconciliation. The word reconciliation means change or exchange. When we acknowledge our sin and need for God a divine exchange occurs.
Easton Bible Dictionary says, “In Colossians 1:21, Colossians 1:22, the word reconcile refers to a change wrought in the personal character of the sinner who ceases to be an enemy to God by wicked works, and yields up to him his full confidence and love. In 2Corinthians 5:20 the apostle beseeches the Corinthians to be “reconciled to God”, i.e., to lay aside their enmity.”
Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
Colossians 1:22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
Colossians 1:23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;
And there it is, the hope of the gospel….that Jesus Christ died to present us holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in His sight. We have been freed from the wicked evil nature that’s within us all. The part of us that hates God and doesn’t want to abide by His laws.
When we repent, a divine exchange occurs. Jesus loved His Father God and wanted to please Him. Jesus’ love and desire to please God our Father will become our desire as well. We will be like David who said, He loved God’s law. Why? Because there is great peace in keeping them. (Psalm 119:165)
If we want to have peace with God, peace in our relationships and peaceful circumstances, we need to obey God’s laws.
Proverbs 16:7 says, When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
As we look around in today’s world we see a need for peace. God will work on our behalf if we live to please Him instead of ourselves.
If you look at God’s commands, his laws, his statues, his suggestions on how to live you will see they are based on a system of love. Loving God, loving yourself and loving others. God’s way of life is not what the enemy has made it out to be. It is not some horrible system designed to keep you from having fun and enjoying your life, it’s the opposite. You will enjoy life more if you love God enough to do what He says. Jesus made wine (John 2:1-11) and drank wine (Luke 7:34), He encouraged marriage (Luke 16:18), He liked good fishing expeditions and fish fries (John 21:9), He may even have a tattoo (Revelation 19:16).
He just doesn’t want you to hurt others as you seek to enjoy your lives. So go ahead eat, drink and be merry but remember to keep the commandments while doing so.
It’s time to be reconciled to God. He’s a loving God, He lets the sun shine on the just and the unjust. Everything we have on earth to enjoy is because of Him. You have a good future ahead of you that will last forever, if you acknowledge your need for a Savior, who doesn’t condemn but save.
Remember, He really had to die for our sin or we would have to join Satan the original sinner in Hell (Matthew 25:31), the place created for ALL sinners, human beings or supernatural beings.
This concludes the first lesson……..we will begin with verse 5 the next time.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
Jude 1:25 To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Jude 1:24