The Last Days
The Last Days
A Study of Revelation
Since the incarnation of Jesus Christ, we have been living in the “last days.”
‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; (Acts 2:17)
The importance of the book of Revelation has been, and will continue to be, discussed for all time. The book of Revelation claims
Devine inspiration (Rev 1:2)
Reveals God the Father in all His glory and majesty
The book of Revelation details the depths of man’s depravity. Despite experiencing the final outpouring of God’s devastating wrath and judgment on sinful mankind, people will nevertheless harden their hearts (like Pharaoh before them; 1 Sam. 6:6) and refuse to repent (9:20–21; 16:9, 11). Scripture contains no clearer summation of the doctrine of redemption than that of Revelation 1:5, which declares that “Jesus Christ … loves us and released us from our sins by His blood.”
The ministry of angels also figures prominently in Revelation, which contains one out of every four references to angels in Scripture. Revelation warns the church of the dangers of sin and compromise with the world (chaps. 2–3), and teaches it how to properly worship God (chaps. 4–5).
Revelation also portrays Jesus Christ’s triumph over Satan and shows us the final political system that will be commanded by the Anti-christ. We are shown the Rapture of the church and get a vivid, detailed description of the time known as the Tribulation (first three and a half years) and the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21) the last three and a half years which culminates in the Second Coming of Christ. The final battle (Armageddon) of human history, the Millennial Reign (1000 years) Christ’s earthly kingdom, and the Great White Throne Judgment (the final judgment for unrepentant sinners). Then the glorious unveiling of the New Heaven and the New Earth.
Despite all the excitement we will feel while studying the book of Revelation and the knowledge we will gain of the events just mentioned, ultimately the book of Revelation is the “Revelation of Jesus Christ” where He is presented as:
“The faithful witness” (1:5);
“the firstborn of the dead” (1:5);
“the ruler of the kings of the earth” (1:5);
“the Alpha and the Omega” (1:8; 21:6);
“the first and the last” (1:17);
“the living One” (1:18);
“the One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands” (2:1);
“the One who has the sharp two-edged sword” (2:12);
“the Son of God” (2:18);
the One “who has eyes like a flame of fire, and … feet … like burnished bronze” (2:18);
the One “who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars” (3:1);
the One “who is holy, who is true” (3:7);
the holder of “the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens” (3:7);
“the Amen, the faithful and true Witness” (3:14);
“the Beginning of the creation of God” (3:14);
“the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” (5:5);
“the Root of David” (5:5); the Lamb of God (e.g., 5:6; 6:1; 7:9–10; 8:1; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7; 21:9; 22:1);
the “Lord, holy and true” (6:10);
the One who “is called Faithful and True” (19:11);
“The Word of God” (19:13);
the “King of kings, and Lord of lords” (19:16);
Christ (Messiah), ruling on earth with His glorified saints (20:6);
“Jesus … the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star” (22:16).
And most importantly the book of Revelation affirms the full deity of Jesus Christ.
He possesses the attributes and prerogatives of God, including sovereignty (1:5),
the right to judge men (19:11) and
to decide who lives and who dies (1:18; 2:23).
He also receives worship (5:13) and
rules from God’s throne (22:1, 3).
Not only does Revelation affirm His absolute deity, the book affirms His equality with God the Father:
Deut. 10:17 with Rev. 19:16;
Prov. 3:12 with Rev. 3:19;
Dan. 7:9 with Rev. 1:14;
Isa. 44:6 with Rev. 1:17;
I. Introduction: “What You Have Seen” (chap. 1)
A. Prologue (1:1-3)
B. Salutation (1:4-8)
C. The Patmos vision of Christ glorified (1:9-18)
D. The command to write (1:19-20)
II. Letters to the Seven Churches: “What Is Now” (chaps. 2-3)
A. The letter to the church in Ephesus (2:1-7)
B. The letter to the church in Smyrna (2:8-11)
C. The letter to the church in Pergamum (2:12-17)
D. The letter to the church in Thyatira (2:18-29)
E. The letter to the church in Sardis (3:1-6)
F. The letter to the church in Philadelphia (3:7-13)
G. The letter to the church in Laodicea (3:14-22)
III. The Revelation of the Future: “What Will Take Place Later” (chaps. 4-22)
A. The vision of the heavenly throne (chap. 4)
B. The seven-sealed scroll (chap. 5)
C. The opening of the six seals: the time of divine wrath (chap. 6)
D. Those who will be saved in the Great Tribulation (chap. 7)
E. The opening of the seventh seal and the introduction of the seven trumpets (chaps. 8-9)
F. The mighty angel and the little scroll (chap. 10)
G. The two witnesses (11:1-14)
H. The sounding of the seventh trumpet (11:15-19)
I. The seven great personages of the end times (chaps. 12-15)
J. The bowls of divine wrath (chap. 16)
K. The fall of Babylon (chaps. 17-18)
L. The song of hallelujah in heaven (19:1-10)
M. The second coming of Christ (19:11-21)
N. The millennial reign of Christ (20:1-10)
O. The judgment of the great white throne (20:11-15)
P. The new heaven and the new earth (21:1-22:5)
Q. The final word from God (22:6-21)
The Things You Have Seen (Rev. 1:1-20)
John MacArthur refers to chapter one as Back to the Future. In our approach, natural interpretation with an emphasis on future fulfillment of the book of Revelation that is exactly where we are going. Imagine if you, like John on the Isle of Patmos, were transported 2000 years into the future. How would you describe the things that you see? Much like John we would describe them in terms and symbols that we are aware of and understand.
Let’s be honest here, we would all like to know the future. But as my Mom used to say, “I would not, that would take the excitement away.” America’s insashible appetite for predicting the future is evident in our use of terot cards, psychic hot lines, and horoscopes. We, for the most part, want to know what is going to happen.
Fortunately for us, God has provided a glimpse into the future, a vision through the apostle John that shows us a great and glorious destination for all those who have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb.
The final chapter of the redemptive plan of God is totally “unveiled.” It is completely exposed so that we as believers in Christ can have hope and live an expectant life that glorifies our Lord and Savior. For those who do not have a personal relationship with Christ, the Revelation is a warning, that He is coming! Not as the Suffering Servant but as the triumphant King of Kings. This warning gives all who read the book of Revelation sufficient evidence of a pending judgment.
Of Jesus Christ
All Scripture is revelation from God (2 Tim. 3:16), but the book of Revelation is the revelation- the revelation of Jesus Christ. He is the central theme.
Which God gave Him
The book of Revelation is the Father’s gift to the Son. The gift is given for perfect, humble and faithful service to the Father through His obedience even to death on a cross (Phil. 2:5-11). His exaltation is detailed in the book of Revelation.
To show His bond-servants
We are, as bond-servants (literally slaves) of Christ, are granted a privilege of understanding. A true bond-servant of Christ is one who serves out of love and devotion to his Master (Ex. 21:5-6).
On the other hand, those who are not bond-servants will find the truths revealed in Revelation incomprehensible (1Cor. 2:14).
The things which must soon take place
The Gospels primarily focus on the life and earthly ministry of Jesus. Acts chronicles the history of the church from Pentecost to the imprisonment of Paul in Rome. The Epistles give us glimpses of the future, but their primary focus is to explain the life, death and resurrection of Christ and how to apply it to the body of believers. So in essence the first five books of the New Testament are about the past (the life of Christ), and the next twenty one about the present (church age).
But the book of Revelation contains information about all ages, past (chapter 1), present (chapters 2-3), and the future (chapters 4-22).
Soon (tachos) which literally means in a brief time. The idea of soon in context of the verse is not the speed in which Christ moves when He comes, but the nearness of His coming. We are to live in expectation of His coming because it is immenent (Matt. 24:42), we however are not to try and set the time.
He Sent and communicated it by His angel
The book of Revelation is the only book sent and communicated supernaturally to its human author by angels. Angels also play a prominent role in the carrying out of the fulfillment of the prophecies depicted in the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation is one of the most significant resources of information when it comes to understanding the ministry of angels.
To His bond-servant John, who testifies to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw
John the son of Zebedee and brother of James was exiled on the Isle of Patmos by the Roman Emperor Domitian (AD 81-96). We have internal evidence that John “saw” the vision (he names himself four times Rev. 1:1, 4, 9; 22:8 ) and external evidence that John is the seer and the writer of the Revelation from early church fathers.
Irenaeus adds his confirming word when he states that John lived in Ephesus after returning from Patmos until the reign of Trajan.
Irenaeus quotes every chapter of the book of the Revelation.
Tertullian cites the author as “the Apostle John” and quotes from almost every chapter of the book.
Hippolytus quotes extensively from chapters 17 and 18, attributing them to John the Apostle.
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it
The three participles translated reads, hear and heed are all present tense. Reading, hearing and obeying the truth taught in the book of Revelation, and the rest of Scripture, are to be a way of life for believers in Christ. The changing from the singular he who reads to the plural those who hear, and obey depicts a first century church service.
The book of Revelation is God’s final word to man, the culmination of divine revelation. Its writing marked the completion of the canon of Scripture (Rev. 22:18–19), and its scope encompasses the entire future sweep of redemptive history (Rev. 1:19). Therefore it is imperative that believers pay diligent heed to the truths it contains.
Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1983-c1985). The Bible knowledge commentary : An exposition of the scriptures (2:927). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.