You'll discover all kinds of interesting facts about the apostle John and learn about the details of his world. You will be able to choose a perspective for interpreting this book of the Bible and decipher the many haunting symbols. There is no need to read this reference guide from cover to cover; simply browse the table of contents or flip through the pages to find the answers and assistance that you need. Discover how to:. Complete with lists of the ten most commonly asked questions about end times and the ten rules of thumb for interpreting scripture, The Book of Revelation For Dummies will help you understand and decode one of the most perplexing books in the Bible!
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John reports that he saw his visions and was told to write them down while he was on the island of Patmos , 11; ; , Patmos is about 60 miles from Ephesus. John was told to write down what he saw in a book and to send it to seven churches in the province of Asia western Asia Minor : Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea The original recipients of Revelation were the believers in these seven churches. Tradition reports that the apostle John exercised spiritual oversight over these churches while he resided at Ephesus during the final decades of the first century.
The order of the listing of the seven churches forms a semicircle beginning in the west at Ephesus, then extending northward to Pergamos, and subsequently southeastward to Laodicea. Revelation was probably sent initially as a circular letter beginning at Ephesus and thence throughout the province. When he was arrested, John was in Ephesus, ministering to the church there and in the surrounding cities.
Seeking to strengthen those congregations, he could no longer minister to them in person and, following the divine command , John addressed Revelation to them The churches had begun to feel the effects of persecution; at least one man, probably a pastor, had already been martyred , and John himself had been exiled. But the storm of persecution was about to break in full fury upon the 7 churches so dear to the apostle's heart To those churches, Revelation provided a message of hope: God is in sovereign control of all the events of human history, and though evil often seems pervasive and wicked men all powerful, their ultimate doom is certain.
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Christ will come in glory to judge and rule. Many purposes can be detected in the book. First, it was written to encourage believers to endure persecution and to persevere through suffering, knowing that the victory of Christ over the world and the Devil is guaranteed and certain. Second, the book was written to show how all of prophecy focuses on Jesus Christ, His person and His program for the world. Third, the book seeks to unite all the various lines of biblical prophecy both Old and New Testaments , and to show how they converge upon the second coming of Christ to rule the earth in His messianic kingdom.
Fourth, the book seeks to correct some moral and doctrinal problems that existed and still exist , in the churches, and to instruct Christians in such things as salvation, prophecy, the person of Christ, and Christian living. And finally, the book may be an attack of the paganism and emperor worship of the Roman Empire, particularly against the emperor Domitian and his persecution of Christians. There are many possible veiled references to the anti-Christian nature and activities of Rome in the book.
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The 7 churches to who the letters were addressed were existing churches in Asia Minor modern Turkey. Apparently, they were singled out because John had ministered in them. Revelation is first and foremost a revelation about Jesus Christ The book depicts Him as the risen, glorified Son of God ministering among the churches ff. As "The faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth" ;. As "the Alpha and the Omega" ;.
As the one "who is and who was and who is the come, the Almighty" ;. As a son of man :. As the one who was dead, but now is alive forevermore ;. As the Son of God ;. As the one who is holy and true ;. As "the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God" ;. As the Lion of the tribe of Judah ;. As the Lamb in heaven, with authority to open the title deed to the earth ff ;. As the Lamb on the throne ;. As the Messiah who will reign forever ;. As the Word of God ;. As the majestic King of kings and Lord of lords, returning in glorious splendor to conquer His foes ff ; and.
As "the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star" Many other rich theological themes find expression in Revelation.
The church is warned about sin and exhorted to holiness. John's vivid pictures of worship in heaven both exhort and instruct believers. In few other books of the Bible is the ministry of angels so prominent.
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Revelation's primary theological contribution is to eschatology, i. In it we learn about:. The final political setup of the world;.
The last battle of human history;. The career and ultimate defeat of Antichrist;.
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Christ's year earthly kingdom;. The glories of heaven and the eternal state; and. The final state of the wicked and the righteous. Finally, only Daniel rivals this book in declaring that God providentially rules over the kingdoms of men and will accomplish His sovereign purposes regardless of human or demonic opposition. Interpretive Challenges: No other New Testament book poses more serious and difficult interpretive challenges than Revelation. The book's vivid imagery and striking symbolism have produced 4 main interpretive approaches:.
This view conflicts with the book's own often repeated claim to be prophecy ; , 10, 18, It is impossible to see all the events in Revelation as already fulfilled. The second coming of Christ, for example, obviously did not take place in the first century. The historicist approach": Views Revelation as a panoramic view of church history from apostolic times to the present, seeing in the symbolism such events as the barbarian invasions of Rome, the rise of the Roman Catholic Church as well as various individual popes , the emergence of Islam, and the French Revolution.
This interpretive method robs Revelation of any meaning for those to whom it was written. It also ignores the time limitations the book itself places on the unfolding events compare ; , 14; Historicism has produced many different, and often conflicting, interpretations of the actual historical events contained in Revelation. In this view, the book contains neither historical allusions nor predictive prophecy.