By Mike Taylor
“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”. Revelation 1:1.
In the margin, shortly means to “be revealed quickly” or “swiftly”….but it must be taken in the light of verse 10: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,”
What is the Lord’s Day? He’s not talking about a particular day of the week, but a day of wrath:
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
When John wrote this, through the instruction of Jesus Christ Himself, most biblical scholars agree that John was an old man, probably writing it between 90-100 A.D. The temple had already been destroyed and what happened right after John wrote his visions down and the words spoken by our Lord? Nothing! Not for 2000 years has any or most of the prophecies of Revelation come to pass. It was written not for the time of John, but for our time, the time of the end of days.
When these things begin to happen, those who witness it will have their breaths taken away, as it could happen most rapidly, building a crescendo or a volume of events that go faster and faster. How fast? We are not told. It will be in a period of seven years, but when they unfold, one after another, we are not told how much of a time period in the seven years of Daniel’s 70th week prophecy it will envelope. It is a time of Israel being refined as silver in the fire, and man-kind’s rebellion on earth being extinguished.
I entitle this article, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” as it is not what it was titled when translated into Greek. This is the book’s real title, not what the Greeks titled it, Apokalypsis Ioannou?”The Revelation of John.” In a sense, the apostle John is merely a witness or observer of the visions and sayings that we find within these twenty-two chapters, one who faithfully wrote them down for the instruction, preparation, and edification of the church. Jesus Christ is called the “Alpha and the Omega”..the beginning and the end. As He started it, He will also, finish it.
To whom was this book written? Verse 11 says that it was written to the churches in Ephesus,Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Each church was a model of what we would be at the end of the age. It speaks to us and uses them as symbols of our pre-tribulation condition. This makes sense, as it was written for the end times..not for their time, but ours.
Apokalypsis means “unveiling,” “disclosure,” or “revelation,” which is just the opposite of what most people suppose it means. It was a not designed as a book of “mystery, symbols, and allegory with metaphors that obscure, but to “reveal” what must shortly take place. The facts were given from the Father to the Son and revealed to John through our Lord, so that John could write down what was to come, so that His disciples could pass it on and reveal to us, His imminent return. God does not wish for His Word to be an enigma or confusing, but to shine a light, to reveal “what shortly must come to pass”. It’s a sharing of privileged information.
In the Greek New Testament, apocalypsis appears in two senses. When used figuratively, it has the sense of “bringing someone to knowledge,” as in the English phrase “remove the veil of ignorance.” For example, when we say that a mystery is unveiled, we mean that the veil of ignorance is lifted so that the matter can be plainly understood. In terms of the book of Revelation, this is the sense that most interpreters and readers recognize in it. They see it as the unveiling of prophetic events to understanding.
The New Testament consistently supports the literal sense of apocalypsis rather than the figurative, and that the “revelation of Jesus Christ” is not limited to His testimony or to His unlocking of prophecy. Instead, the “revelation of Jesus Christ” is, in fact, an advance record of His visible appearance in glory, to overthrow the spirit and human rulers of this world and to establish His Kingdom on earth.
A key to effective Bible study is to let the Bible interpret itself. Another key is to let the Bible’s usage of a word determine its meaning rather than to rely solely on what it means in secular Greek or Hebrew. Apocalypsis appears in eighteen places in the New Testament, and in ten of those places it is used literally, referring to a person or a thing. In every case, it denotes the “visible appearance” or “unveiling” of that person or thing, confirming how it should be understood at the beginning of Revelation the first chapter.
It has been noted and written much about Revelation, but the most glaring part of the revealing is the distinct break it makes after three chapters. In those chapters, Jesus is talking to us, the Church of Jesus Christ. He makes warning after warning of how we should be living, what we are doing, and what we should or should not be doing. But then what happens? The Church of Jesus Christ is no longer spoken of, for the next 15 chapters. It’s like we vanished….Oh, yes we did. He speaks of the coming Day of the Lord and the unleashing of His judgment on an unrepentant planet earth with its rebellious humans.
Note that John was describing visions that he had no frame of reference. He was describing something that was not invented yet, or was for modern times. He could not envision the machines, or the technology that would be our world. He could only describe in words that had meaning to him, but was designed as a word of knowledge for the modern era of the Church Age. Chapter after chapter past chapter4, reveals a most horrible time in all of history of mankind. Plague after plague, judgment after judgment prepares the earth for its new beginning of a righteous era of the rule of “The King of Kings, and Lord of Lords”. I’ll not try and interpret each and every symbol of what will come upon the earth, as they would take many messages to cover and many authors, including those on this site, have attempted to interpret what each seal being opened reveals, included the seven trumpets, and the seven vials of the wrath of God. As you read each chapter, you get a sense of the dread, the sheer horror of a man-made system that wishes to extinguish the last remnant of anyone who professes Jesus Christ, coupled with the divine retribution of a wrathful and righteous Judge of planet earth and its inhabitants. Revelation chapter 6:15-17,
And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16. And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17. For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
Then a most remarkable shift is taken in chapter 19 starting in verse 11, that gives all who believe in Jesus Christ, faith and hope in our Savior and what happened to the church that was not mentioned for 15 chapters.
19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (a sign of the saints of God) Folks, that’s you and I, the Church of Jesus Christ coming on white horses clothed in His righteousness, to watch our champion, our God, our Savior do final battle with rebellious mankind of this dispensation.
I had an argument with a minister that does not believe that the church will be removed prior to the tribulation, that somehow we will be arise to meet Jesus in the air and make a sharp U-turn and come right back down to earth at Jerusalem when Jesus feet touches the Mount of Olives after His glorious appearing called His second coming. He believes that we will go through all of the tribulation and many will meet martyrdom. My quickest rebuttal that gave him pause, as He could not answer it was, “if we are going up to meet the Lord in the air, are we just going into the air to saddle up?” No, the argument of his just fell apart. There is a decided time lapse of the two events. It’s called the “marriage supper of the Lamb.”
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:7-9)
I’ve made my point many times, in 2nd Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
This is the Holy Spirit. He is leaving this earth and drawing back to a pre-New Testament presence of His Spirit, not it’s indwelling after the day of Pentecost in its fullness. As He leaves, we will be called to a marriage supper and a reward ceremony at the Bema Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ. We will be united with our Bridegroom as His bride and we will forever be with the Lord.
When Jesus Christ returns for His 1000 year reign quoted in chapter 19 above, He will make short work of utter destruction of the vast army coming out for battle at a place called Armageddon . “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon”. Revelation 16:16, Then He will usher in an age of sheer joy and righteousness, as Satan will be bound for a 1000 years to refrain from deceiving human kind. But at the end of Satan’s imprisonment, he will loose for a little season. How long is that season? It’s not revealed, but long enough to prove that mankind, in his human form is corrupted, as the army that comes against the Holy City of God, will be as the sands of the seashore. Fire will come down out of heaven and destroy the last remaining rebellion and Satan will be cast in the Lakeof Fire burning with brimstone, forever and ever.
Revelation 20:7, “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
20:8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
20:9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saintsabout, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
In the next to the last chapter of this most remarkable book, God makes a promise to all of us who believe in the only Begotten Son of God:
21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, washed in His blood and made righteous, that is our future. That is what we press forward everyday to reach. Revelation to the believer in Jesus Christ is not a book of foreboding, but of promise of our future home, the Heavenly Jerusalem and God dwelling with His people in a new heaven and a new earth. It will be a time of unspeakable joy.
To the unbeliever, it’s a time of great sorrow and destruction, eternally lost and separated from God our creator, who made us and them being cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. What side are you on? Have you found this Savior? Have you made a commitment to follow Him, believe in Him and believe who He said He was, the Son of God to take away the sins of the world? Do it today, right now with a simple prayer and a belief in your heart and your mind. Jesus Christ has risen and wishes you to be with Him, not to live through the horrors that make up a coming tribulation. Do it while there is still time, as time is drawing down rapidly.