Study Twenty - Revelation
New Testament - Revelation

Revelation was written by John which may or may not be the same John who wrote the gospel. Revelation is a minor book of the Bible, unlike the gospel of John. Martin Luther thought the three most important books of the Bible were John, Romans and 1 Peter, not Revelation.

Human History - There are two views of Human History, the Eastern view and the Western view.

Eastern World - Buddhist, Hindu, New Age Religions believe that history is an endless circle. There is no beginning and no end.

Western World - Islam, Judaism, and Christians believe history had a beginning and is moving toward an end. Because we are westerners, the reason for Revelation is that history will one day come to an end and Revelation explains how.

Apocalyptic Writing - Revelation is not poetic, not historic. It is it's own genre, apocalyptic which means to reveal. The Bible has two chapters that are examples of apocalyptic writing, Daniel and Revelation. These books were written to a persecuted people to give them hope. The stories are written in code. If the writings were to fall into the hands of the enemy, the enemy will not understand that the writings are predicting the enemies downfall. Ex: If Revelation predicts the downfall of Nero, the writings are in code so Roman soldiers will not execute the mutineers captured with the writings. Ninety percent of Revelation comes from the Old Testament.

Perspective - The church in America is not under persecution. Christian churches in China, Africa, marxist countries are being persecuted. Revelation makes sense to them. It is written to give them hope. The Anti-Christ is whoever is persecuting you. Historical anti-christs have been Nero, the Pope (to Martin Luther), Hitler, Saddam Huessin, any US President.

When Will the World End? - Jesus doesn't know, the angels in heaven do not know. Only the Father knows when the time will come. If Jesus doesn't know, we will not be able to crack any codes hidden in Revelation.

Three Views of the Endtime - Three views of the endtime are Amillennialism, Postmillennialism, and Premillennialism.

Amillennialism - Symbolic millenium where Jesus will not physically come and reign and we are not waiting for rapture. This is taught by 90% of the Christian Churches including Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and other protestant churches. Right now is the time of the Millennial Kingdom. This is the time of the Church. Christ is already present in the eucharist and baptism. There is no future earthly kingdom for Christ. Jesus will return to judge the living and dead. This was taught by Augustine, Aquinas, and Martin Luther.

Postmillennialism - Very optimistic in its outlook and not very popular. Taught by the Arminians and Wesleyans (offshoot of Methodists) that Christ will return after the gospel has been preached to every single person on earth and the knowledge has taken full effect among the nations. This return will take place after the millenial kingdom (literal 1,000 year reign) has been established. The steps of Postmillennialism are:

  1. World Mission - the present time, all must hear the word.
  2. Kingdom on Earth - global group hug
  3. Christ's return
  4. Resurrection/Judgment
  5. Eternity
Premillennialism - Has been around 150 years and taught by Calvinists and Reformed Church. Belief that Christ will return bodily for one thousand years or more before the millenium (the 1,000 year reign of the Kingdom of God on earth). Premillennialism believes in a one-to-one correspondence (allegory) of biblical symbols to historical occurrence in order to determine a timeline. People try to match biblical symbols with events in every day life. Equating biblical symbol of locusts to today's helicopter would imply that Revelation has been sitting around 2,000 years waiting for us to arrive. The problem with this is that Revelation is apocalyptic, not allegorical.

Before the Millennium

  1. Evangelization of the world - all must hear gospel first.
  2. Apostasy and Tribulation - abandoment of faith and trials and persecution.
  3. Antichrist will appear - economic system or historical person against God.
  4. Armageddon (Rev. 16:16) - final battle fought in the Valley Megiddo by the entire world.
  5. Second Coming of Christ for the believers (1 Thess. 4:15-17) - during Armageddon.
  6. First Resurrection of the dead saints (Rev. 20)
  7. Transfiguration of living saints (1 Cor. 15:51-52)
  8. Rapture (1 Thess. 4:15-17) - saints lifted bodily to heaven leaving rest to suffer through Armageddon.
Millennium (1,000 year reign of peace) Begins
  1. Antichrist slain or restrained.
  2. Restoration of Israel - as a Kingdom and chosen people of God.
  3. The nations turn to God.
  4. Millennial peace - Humanity leaves in peace, those left after Rapture get a second chance.
After 1,000 Years
  1. Satan (AntiChrist) unrestrained (Rev. 20:7-8)
  2. Satan's final revolt fails - human and spiritual troops attach and fail.
  3. Last Judgment (Coming of Christ with the saints)
  4. New Heaven and Earth - return to the Garden of Eden.
  5. Eternity begins
Bookstores sell prophecy on postmillennialism. It is so difficult to understand that people make a lot of money selling books explaining its meaning. They should sell prophecy of 8th century prophets preaching social justice and tending to the poor. People put the lion share of study into Revelation which is a shame. Revelation is not a blueprint or countdown. It is to give us a message of hope during persecution. When Christ comes again, all of your broken things will be made right.

Lesson 20 and its symbolism:

Descending crown and mace of leadership - Christ will come again!

The crown - Upon his return, Christ will be Lord over all.

The star of David - In fulfillment of the prophecy, Christ will be a descendent of David's line.

The dove - Christ's eternal reign will be one of peace.