Survey of the Bible - Revelation

Text: Revelation 22:6-21


I.         Revelation, disclosure, revealing

            A.        Greek title: The Revelation of John

                        1.         Sometimes called the Apocalypse which is a transliteration of the Greek word for revelation.

                        2.         Also known from the first line of the book: The Revelation of Jesus Christ - Revelation 1:1

            B.        Author

                        1.         The author is named John - Revelation 1:1, 4, 9; 22:8

                        2.         The same John who wrote John, I John, II John, and III John

                        3.         Attested that it was written by the apostle John by: Justin Martyr, the Shepherd of Hermas, Melito, Irenaeus, the Muratorian canon, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, etc.

            C.        Authenticity

                        1.         Frequently mentioned and quoted by second and third century Christians

                        2.         Dionysius in the third century expressed doubts about John being the author based on a difference in grammar, vocabulary, and expressions used.

                        3.         However, there are strong similarities:

                                    a.         Distinctive terms, such as word, lamb, and true

                                    b.         Use of conflicting themes, such as light and dark, love and hatred, good and evil

                        4.         We would expect some differences because the book is a different style of writing. It isn’t a historical treatise, like John, or personal letters, like I John, II John, and III John

            D.        Audience

                        1.         Directed to the seven churches of Asia - Revelation 1:3-4

                        2.         If you start from Ephesus, the churches are laid out in a clockwise fashion.

                        3.         We know that there were more than seven churches in Asia, so these churches were selected for a reason.

                        4.         We also know that numbers play a significant role in the book of Revelation, carrying meaning. Seven is the number for perfectly complete

                        5.         Thus, the seven churches were selected as a complete representation of all churches.

                        6.         Note that while there are letters to individual churches in Revelation 2 and 3, there is encouragement for all churches to pay attention - Revelation 2:7, 29

            E.        Written from Patmos - Revelation 1:9

                        1.         A small, desolate island that was one of several places where Rome banished criminals and political offenders

            F.        Dating

                        1.         Hostility by Rome toward Christians was becoming overtly hostile - Revelation 1:9; 2:10, 13

                        2.         Two possibilities:

                                    a.         Nero’s persecution in AD 64 after the burning of Rome

                                                (1)       Muratorian Canon which comes down to us from AD 170–210 states, "Paul, following the order of his own predecessor John, writes to no more than seven churches by name."

                                                            (a)       Note that this does not state that John wrote before Paul, only that John was an apostle before Paul.

                                                (2)       “The Syriac Version of the New Testament, which is the oldest version of the New Testament, dating all the way back to the second century, places the Revelation in the period of Nero, 68 A.D.” (Ogden)

                                                            (a)       Misleading, the oldest Syriac translation, the Peschito, does not contain Revelation. This one dates to the second century

                                                            (b)       Later ones do have Revelation

                                                            (c)       But it isn’t until the Syriac Vulgate Bible of the sixth century do we find a comment inserted that Revelation was written when John was sent to Patmos by Nero.

                                                (3)       Clement (AD 150–215) makes the following statement supporting an early dating: "For the teaching of our Lord at His advent, beginning with Augustus and Tiberius, was completed in the middle of the times of Tiberius. And that of the apostles, embracing the ministry of Paul, end with Nero" (Miscellanies 7:17).

                                                            (a)       Note that this says that Jesus taught from Augustus to Tiberius and that Paul’s ministry ended with Nero. It says nothing about when the entire New Testament was completed.

                                    b.         Domitian’s persecution, who reigned from A.D. 81-96

                                                (1)       Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, a disciple of John. Irenaeus (AD 180) said "For that (the apocalyptic vision) was seen not a very long time since, but almost in our own day, toward the end of Domitian's reign."Domitian died while serving as emperor in 96 A.D. (Against Heresies, V, xxx, iii, ANF, I, 559-560.)

                                                (2)       Eusebius was a fourth century historian who preserved many early writings. Eusebius records that John was banished to Patmos during Domitian’s 15th year of reign (A.D. 96, EH, III, xx,103). He also records that John returned from Patmos after the death of Domitian (A.D. 96, EH, III, xxiii, 104).

                                                (3)       “Eusebius quoted also Hegesippus’ testimony [abt. 150 A.D.] that John returned to Ephesus upon being released from exile after the accession of Nerva in A. D. 96 (HE III. xx).” Nerva was the successor to Domitian and served as the Roman Emperor from 96 A.D. to 98 A.D.

                                                (4)       “Apart from quoting Irenaeus, he [Eusebius] refers to ‘the record of our ancient men’ (i.e. in all probability the Memoirs of Hegesippus) for the tradition that ‘the apostle John also took up his abode once more at Ephesus after his exile’ under Domitian’s successor Nerva.” (John A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament, p. 223)

                                                (5)       Victorinus (late 3rd century) “He says this, because when John said these things he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the labour of the mines by Cæsar Domitian. There, therefore, he saw the Apocalypse; and when grown old, he thought that he should at length receive his quittance by suffering, Domitian being killed, all his judgments were discharged. And John being dismissed from the mines, thus subsequently delivered the same Apocalypse which he had received from God.” [Commentary on the Apocalypse, 10.11]

                                                (6)       Jerome (late 4th century) “In the fourteenth year then after Nero Domitian having raised a second persecution he was banished to the island of Patmos, and wrote the Apocalypse, on which Justin Martyr and Irenæus afterwards wrote commentaries. But Domitian having been put to death and his acts, on account of his excessive cruelty, having been annulled by the senate, he returned to Ephesus under Pertinax and continuing there until the time of the Emperor Trajan, founded and built churches throughout all Asia, and, worn out by old age, died in the sixty-eighth year after our Lord's passion and was buried near the same city.” (De Viris Illustribus (On Illustrious Men), Chapter 9)

                                                            (a)       Note the use of “Nero Domitian” and realize this may be a source of confusion.

                                                (7)       Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 155-215), “And that you may be still more confident, that repenting thus truly there remains for you a sure hope of salvation, listen to a tale, which is not a tale but a narrative, handed down and committed to the custody of memory, about the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant's death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit.” (Who Is the Rich Man?, 42).

                                                            (a)       Later it mentions John as being an old man

                                                            (b)       Eusebius identifies the “tyrant” as Domitian (Ecclesiastical History III.23).

                                    c.         Nero killed Peter and Paul (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III.18; II.25)

                                                (1)       Why would he banish John to Patmos?

                                                (2)       But Domitian frequently banished people he disliked.

                        3.         Internal evidence

                                    a.         Ephesus was started by Paul (Acts 19) in the later part of Claudius’ reign.

                                                (1)       In Ephesians 1:15, written around A.D. 61 during Paul’s first imprisonment, they are commended for their faith and love

                                                (2)       In Revelation 2:4, the Ephesians had left their first love. This indicates some time has passed.

                                    b.         Laodicea was wealthy - Revelation 3:17

                                                (1)       In AD 60, Laodicea was destroyed by an earthquake.

                                                (2)       It would have take a while to restore to its former state.

                                    c.         Nero’s persecution was mostly confined to Rome and it was not religiously motivated

                                                (1)       Antipas is killed at Pergamum - Revelation 2:13

                                    d.         No mention of Jerusalem’s destruction

                                                (1)       Usually argued to say Revelation must have been written before AD 70, but notice this is a argument from a lack of evidence

                                                (2)       But writing in AD 96, there would be no need to mention a historical fact from a quarter century prior that doesn’t factor into the future events discussed.

                                                (3)       Mention of Jerusalem in Revelation 11:8. Note it is compared to Sodom, a city destroyed for its evil.

                        4.         The book was written prior to John’s release, which occurred after Domitian’s death in AD 96 - Revelation 1:11; 22:7, 9-10, 18-19

                                    a.         Puts the date about AD 92-95

II.        Theme

            A.        Dating strongly influence how Revelation is seen.

                        1.         Idealist see that Revelation is not a direct prophecy but a portrait of the conflict between good and evil

                        2.         Preterist claim that Revelation is about the fall of Jerusalem, which makes a date prior to AD 70 critical to this view.

                                    a.         Generally followed by post-millennial believers (that is Christ already reigned)

                        3.         Historic see Revelation as a panorama of history from the first century to Christ’s return.

                                    a.         Many variations as to what is ascribed to when

                                    b.         Generally followed by a-millennial believers (that is Christ is currently reigning)

                        4.         Futuristic sees Revelation (from chapters 4 to the end) to be about events just before Christ’s return

                                    a.         Generally followed by pre-millennial believers (that is, Christ will reign in the future).

            B.        Overcoming Evil

                        1.         He who overcomes - Revelation 2:7,11,17,26; 3:5, 12, 21

                        2.         Overcame by the blood of the Lamb - Revelation 12:11; 17:14

                        3.         The one who overcomes inherits all - Revelation 21:7

            C.        God Always Wins

                        1.         No matter how dire it appears, God will stunningly win

            D.        God decides the ultimate fate of every person

III.       Outline

            A.        Introduction to the book - Revelation 1:1-8

                        1.         Prologue - Revelation 1:1-3

                        2.         Salutation - Revelation 1:4-8

            B.        Introduction to the author, Christ - Revelation 1:9-20

            C.        The letters to the churches - Revelation 2-3

                        1.         Ephesus - Revelation 2:1-7

                        2.         Smyrna - Revelation 2:8-11

                        3.         Pergamos - Revelation 2:12-17

                        4.         Thyatira - Revelation 2:18-29

                        5.         Sardis - Revelation 3:1-6

                        6.         Philadelphia - Revelation 3:7-13

                        7.         Laodicea - Revelation 3:14-22

            D.        The Throne of God - Revelation 4

            E.        The Worthy Lamb - Revelation 5

            F.        The Seven Seals (Revealing) - Revelation 6:1-8:5

                        1.         First seal (White Horse) - Conquering - Revelation 6:1-2

                        2.         Second seal (Red Horse) - War - Revelation 6:3-4

                        3.         Third seal (Black Horse) - Economic Ruin - Revelation 6:5-6

                        4.         Fourth seal (Pale Horse) - Death - Revelation 6:7-8

                        5.         Fifth seal - Martyrs - Revelation 6:9-11

                        6.         Sixth seal - Government Collapse - Revelation 6:12-17

                        7.         Interlude - The people of God

                                    a.         144,000 on earth - Revelation 7:1-8

                                    b.         The great multitude in heaven - Revelation 7:9-17

                        8.         The seventh seal - Silence for ½ hour - Revelation 8:1-5

            G.        The Seven Trumpets (Warning) - Revelation 8:6-11:19

                        1.         First trumpet - (Meteorites)- 1/3 of the earth destroyed - Revelation 8:7

                        2.         Second trumpet - (Volcano) - Government toppled - Revelation 8:8-9

                        3.         Third trumpet - (Wormwood) - Bitter - Revelation 8:10-11

                        4.         Fourth trumpet - (Lights removed) - Loss of wisdom - Revelation 8:12-13

                        5.         Fifth trumpet - (Locust plague) - Satan’s army attacks - Revelation 9:1-12

                        6.         Sixth trumpet - God’s army attacks - Revelation 9:13-21

                        7.         Interlude - Witnesses

                                    a.         The little book - Revelation 10:1-11

                                    b.         The two witnesses - Revelation 11:1-14

                        8.         The seventh trumpet - Triumph - Revelation 11:15-19

            H.        The Seven Personages (Spiritual Reasons behind the events) - Revelation 12:1-14:20

                        1.         The Woman - Revelation 12:1

                        2.         The Child - Revelation 12:2

                        3.         The Dragon - Revelation 12:3-4

                                    a.         Escape - Revelation 12:5-6

                        4.         Michael - Revelation 12:7-13

                                    a.         War in heaven - Revelation 12:7-12

                                    b.         War on earth - Revelation 12:13-17

                        5.         The Sea Beast - Revelation 13:1-10

                        6.         The Land Beast - Revelation 13:11-18

                        7.         The Lamb - Revelation 14

                                    a.         Interlude

                                                (1)       144,000 sealed - Revelation 14:1-5

                                                (2)       Three Angels’ Announcement - Revelation 14:6-13

                                    b.         The war - Revelation 14:14-20

            I.         The Seven Bowls - Revelation 15:1-16:21

                        1.         Preparation - Revelation 15:1-8

                        2.         First bowl - Malignant sores - Revelation 16:1-2

                        3.         Second bowl - Sea turns to blood - Revelation 16:3

                        4.         Third bowl - Rivers and springs turn to blood - Revelation 16:4-7

                        5.         Fourth bowl - Scorching sun - Revelation 16:8-9

                        6.         Fifth bowl - Darkness and pain - Revelation 16:10-11

                        7.         Sixth bowl - Euphrates dries up - Revelation 16:12

                        8.         Interlude - Three unclean spirits - Revelation 16:13-16

                        9.         Seventh bowl - Into the air - Satan is defeated - Revelation 16:17-21

            J.         The Great Harlot - Revelation 17

            K.        The Fall of Babylon the Great - Revelation 18

            L.        Victory! - Revelation 19

                        1.         Victory is declared - Revelation 19:1-6

                        2.         The marriage supper of the Lamb - Revelation 19:7-10

                        3.         Jesus, the Conquering Warrior - Revelation 19:11-18

                        4.         Clean up - Revelation 19:19-20:3

            M.       The Thousand Year Reign - Revelation 20:4-6

            N.        Destruction of Satan and His Followers - Revelation 20:7–15

            O.        The New Heaven and Earth - Revelations 21-22:5

            P.        Conclusion - Revelation 22:6-21

IV.      Contrast between Genesis and Revelation

            A.        God created the heavens and the earth - Genesis 1:1

                        1.         A promise of a new heaven and earth - Revelation 21:1

            B.        God created light and dark - Genesis 1:5

                        1.         There will no longer be night - Revelation 21:25

            C.        God created the sun and moon - Genesis 1:16

                        1.         There will be no need of the sun or moon - Revelation 21:23

            D.        With man’s sin, death entered the world - Genesis 2:17

                        1.         There will be no more death - Revelation 21:4

            E.        Satan enters the world - Genesis 3:1

                        1.         Satan is no more a problem - Revelation 20:10

            F.        Garden from which man fell and sin entered the world - Genesis 3:6-7

                        1.         No defilement will enter the city - Revelation 21:27

            G.        Association with God stopped - Genesis 3:8-10

                        1.         Association with God will resume - Revelation 21:3

            H.        Triumph of Satan - Genesis 3:13

                        1.         Triumph of Christ - Revelation 20:10; 22:3

            I.         Sorrows multiplied - Genesis 3:16

                        1.         No more sorrow - Revelation 21:4

            J.         The ground cursed - Genesis 3:17

                        1.         No more curse - Revelation 22:3

            K.        Access to the garden closed to man - Genesis 3:23

                        1.         Access to the city is open - Revelation 21:25

            L.        Access to the tree of life is denied - Genesis 3:24

                        1.         Access to the tree of life is readily available - Revelation 22:14

            M.       Man driven from God - Genesis 3:24

                        1.         Men will see God’s face - Revelation 22:4

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