|Book of Revelation: A quick overview|
|Written by Dr Rowland S. Ward|
|Monday, 07 July 2008 11:44|
THE BOOK OF REVELATION - A QUICK OVERVIEW
Rowland S. Ward
The Book of Revelation involves recapitulation from different viewpoints of the period between the advents:
Next we have 7 warning trumpets (8:2-11:19) cover the same ground with judgments, in some respects reminding us of the plagues on Egypt at the time of the exodus, designed to bring the world into subjection to Christ. They are both physical and spiritual judgments. All flows from the prayers of the believers as they live in the world. Chapter 10:1-11:14 is an interlude corresponding to Chapter 7 showing the faithful witness of believers in the midst of unbelief. After a section which shows the woman and the dragon and the two beasts and the fall of Babylon (12-14), in which the persecuted church is protected by God,
we have the 7 bowls of God's wrath (15-16) followed by a more elaborate description of Babylon’s overthrow (17:1-19:10).
A summary of the Bible's teaching about the future
1. The LORD has all authority over nations and individuals.
FURTHER NOTES ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION
Is Revelation essentially about the future or is it about what already has begun and will reach its final climax in the future?
Daniel 2:29,45 (LXX) “in the latter days” = “after these things” in Theodotion’s translation.
Joel 3:1 “after this” (LXX); Acts 2:17 “in the latter days”
1. In Daniel God is revealer of things to come “in the latter days”.
2. In Revelation 1 there are a number of words which hark back to Daniel 2, and suggest that it is in this context we should understand Revelation.
3. In Revelation 1 there are subtle changes. What was still future in Daniel is now underway in Revelation.
4. The “things which you have seen” (1.19) are the things John saw in the earlier verses.
5. The “things which are” are the things evident in the churches already.
6. The things which take place “after these things” refers to the era which the Old Testament called “the latter days”, that is, it does not refer to the very end of history in terms of historical time, but it refers to the beginning of the fulfillment of “the latter days”.
7. It is not that tribulation, the defeat of evil and the final coming of the kingdom are simply in the (far off) future, and are merely thought of as near or coming soon in the perspective of prophecy, but that as a result of the death and resurrection of Christ the final tribulation, the defeat of evil and the final coming of the kingdom of God is already underway.
8. Hence the many references to Old Testament prophecies already being fulfilled:
Christ is already ruling the nations (1:5) as the Son of man (1:7 compare Daniel 7:13).
NUMBERS IN REVELATION
Numbers carry a lot of symbolism in Revelation:
7 A number of completeness – example: God’s work of creation in Genesis 1:1-2:3
see Psalm 79:2 for another example
seven churches – seven golden lampstands – seven stars – seven spirits of God (1:4; 4:5; 5:6) – seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowels – thunders speak (10:3) – hills (17:9) plagues - horns etc. – 7000 killed (11:13)
also 7 beatitudes (1:3; 14:13; 16;15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7; 22:14)
also 7 misunderstandings (1:17; 5:5; 7:14; 10:4; 17:6; 19:10; 22:9)
also 7 attributes of God (5:12; 78:12)
also 7 marks of the locusts (9:7-10)
there appears also be 7 large sections to the book.
4 A number of completeness – north, south, east and west, the 4 corners of the earth
four corners (7:1; 20:8) - four winds (7:1), four angels, four living creatures
10 A number of completeness in the decimal system
ten days of persecution (2.10); ten horns of dragon; ten horns and ten crowns of beast (13:1;17:3,7,12,16); a tenth of the city (11:13);
12 A number of completeness – the twelve tribes forming one nation, unity in diversity
12x12=144,000 complete and vast number
12 stars, 12 angels, 12 tribes, twelve, gates, foundations in new Jerusalem with measurement of 12,000 stadia (21:16)
A special period
time, times & half a time
- time of evil domination over God’s people (Daniel 7:25; 12:7)
- period church is nourished by God in the desert (12:14)
42 months [@30 days each 3.5 years/1260 days]
- period the Gentiles trample down outer court/holy city (11:2)
- period of the authority of the beast (13:5)
- period the two witnesses prophesy (11:3)
- period church is nourished by God in the desert (12:6)
1. Elijah prayed it might not rain 3.5 years (Kings 17:1, James 5:17)
2. There was a literal period of 3.5 years when Antiochus Epiphanes desecrated the temple (167-164 BC) – the little horn in Daniel 8 that arises from the third (Greek) kingdom.
This provides an illustration what will happen on a deeper level in the little horn in Daniel 7 from the fourth kingdom (Rome & successors) which persecutes for ‘a time, times and half a time’.
NT reference : Jerusalem to be trodden down until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled
Contrast: three and a half days of seeming defeat for God’s people (11:9,11)
SUGGESTED STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION
Interlocking sections – rich symbolism with constant OT allusions
Contrasts: eg. The scarlet woman/ Babylonian prostitute with the woman clothed with the sun/the pure bride/New Jerusalem
Frequent recapitulation of the period between ascension and the return of Christ
Movement from the church imperfect in the world to the church perfect in glory
Message: (a) Stand faithful and firm in a hostile environment – the victory is certain in Christ;
(b) God will receive glory for his salvation and his judgments.
(1) 7 churches preceded by vision of Christ 1:9-3:22
The church imperfect in this world
(2) 7 seals preceded by vision of God’s throne/Christ 4:1-8:1
(3) 7 trumpets 8:2-11:1 (answer to the plea for judgment 6:9-11)
(4) 7 signs 12:-14:20; 15:2 (the deeper conflict)
(5) 7 bowls 15:1-16:21
(6) Close up of the judgment of Babylon and the Beasts & Devil 17:1-21:15
(7) The Church perfected in the new creation 21:1-22:5
|Last Updated on Sunday, 01 August 2010 14:28|