Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Seven Spirits Who Are Before His Throne

4John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:4-8)

Not that it bares directly on our study of the Book of Revelation but it is worth noting that the Book of Revelation is also an epistle (or letter). Although Revelation was authored by the Apostle John and considered by him to be an epistle to the churches, today we never classify it among the epistles. Likewise, The Gospel of Luke and The Acts of the Apostles, (both of which were written as letters) are never found numbered among the New Testament epistles. Revelation contains, in fact, seven letters or epistles (all with a common Apostolic introduction)  addressed to "the seven churches that

 are in Asia". In John's time, Asia was a province of the Roman Empire located on the western tip of  the modern day country of Turkey. The seven churches of the Roman Provence of Asia to which the seven letters were addressed were Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

1. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2: Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; 1 Thess 1:1; 2 Thess 1:2; 1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 1:2; Titus 1:4; Phil 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Pet. 1:2; 2 Jn  1:3; Rev 1:4-5) … This phrase or a phrase very similar to it is included in the Apostolic greeting of the writings of Paul, Peter, and John  in 17 of the New Testament books.  The New Testament books that do not include this greeting are the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) Acts, Hebrews, James, 1 John, 3 John, and Jude.

In the apostolic greeting of Revelation, John follows the establish form but also does something quite unusual - (1) instead of using the words "God our Father" he inserts descriptive devices for God, i.e., "from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne,". (2) The second thing John does in this greeting is provide adjectival descriptions of the Son even though Jesus is also named.

2. In this we have our first introduction to the apocalyptic language of Revelation and it is beneficial at this point to ask the question - 'How do we know that the phrase "from him who is and who was and who is to come, …" is really saying the same thing as "God"? The phrase is "churchy" sounding, and perhaps most readers take it for granted that these words do in fact refer to God. But in truth, the reason, we know these "churchy" sounding words refer exclusively to God and never to another is that this is exactly how God referred to Himself in Revelation 1:8: "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty (emphasis added)." So, rather than just accepting that this phrase is a phrase that means the same thing as God because it sounds "churchy", we used the analogy of faith to compare the unclear wording in verse 4 to the clear passage found in verse 8 to arrive at its intended meaning.

3. John also wrote "Grace and peacefrom the seven spirits who are before his throne,…". What does this phrase mean? We know that God is a Trinity-- Father, Son, and Spirit. Is it possible that John is uniquely recording the only greeting to the church from the Holy Spirit in the New Testament in this part of verse 4? The Book of Revelation is certainly unique so a one of a kind greeting recorded in this book does not seem to be out of bounds. The answer to the question is 'yes', this is a possibility. Many highly qualified, pious, godly, and careful commentators on this passage have made exactly this point.  A brief (but I hope not inaccurate) description of how they arrive at this conclusion comes by way of noting that the number seven is the number of completion and perfection and is always associated with God or the works of God. Thus the phrase "seven spirits" is another way of referring to the Spirit.

I do not however agree with this conclusion for several reasons. Note, however, that I am far less qualified to disagree with these great men of God than most people on this planet. But I do, so first I will provide a negative case as to why I do not agree that an interpretation which makes the seven spirits a synonym for the Holy Spirit is the best interpretation of this passage.   Second, I will build a positive case using the analogy of faith showing that the seven spirits of Rev 1:4 can best be understood as a way of speaking of the omniscience of God.

4. The Negative Case: As will be discussed in more detail below, the seven spirits of God are mentioned in Revelation four times. The Spirit, as in the Holy Spirit, is also specifically mentioned in Revelation 9 times (2:7; 2:11; 2:17; 2:29; 3:6: 3:13; 13:22; 14:13; and 22:17). I do not see a correspondence when comparing the 4 mentions of the seven spirits with the (Holy) Spirit in any of the 9 passages listed above which causes me to think that John intended the seven spirits of God first mentioned in 1:4 to be a synonym for the The Spirit. Further, when there is an unambiguous quote from the Spirit (Rev 14:13 and 22:17) John records "The Spirit says…" and "The Spirit and the Bride say "Come"" (emphasis added).

5. The Positive Case: In the 66 Books of the Bible, the seven spirits (before God's throne) are mentioned 5 times. Four of the 5 mentions are in the Book of Revelation (1:4; 3:1; 4:5; and 5:6), the 6th is found in the Old Testament book of  Zechariah (4:10). The first 2 references in Revelation (1:4 and 3:1) are the same; new information about the seven spirits however is introduced in Rev 4:5 and Rev 5:6. We will discuss Revelation 3:1 and 4:5 a bit later, for now I would like to draw your attention to Revelation 5:6 where John records these words "And between the throne…I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth (emphasis added). Notice the relationship between the eyes of the lamb and the seven spirits. John says these seven spirits are sent out into all the earth. This is very similar to the mention in Zechariah 4:10 (b) which reads: " "These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range through the whole earth." Again, the number seven is the sign of completeness or of perfection that is associated with God and His works. It is not unreasonable to conclude that the "seven spirits" introduced in Rev 1:4 "are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth" mentioned in Rev 5:6. Moreover, we saw a similar prophetic usage in Zach 4:10.

The phrase "from him who is and who was and who is to come" refers, as we have seen, to God. It also is another way of referring to the fact that God is omnipresent (meaning present in all places at all times).  Similarly, the phrase "the seven spirits who are before his throne," which are sent out and range through the whole earth refers to the omniscience of God being descriptive of his unlimited understanding and knowledge.

6. Conclusion: Using the analogy of faith, It is as if 1:4 could be rendered in this way - John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from the one and only omnipresent and omniscient God...

But what was John's purpose in writing the Apostolic greeting in this manner? The answer to this question is going to have to wait a bit though while we continue examining Revelation when we pick back up at verse 5 of Chapter 1 in the next post. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Words Are Not Made of Silly Putty

OK. Show of hands -- how many people think that the first hearers of the Book of Revelation:
  • set around scratching their head wondering what it was all about?
  • Or started thinking about helicopter gunships, Mideast oil, the number of soldiers a future Chinese Army would number, or of vast sorties of Russian attack aircraft exploding harmlessly over the land of Israel while they were trying to bomb it out of existence?
  • Or, if they were hearers of the Book in 100 AD, said to themselves 'thank goodness all this prophecy was fulfilled 30 years ago so I don't have to worry about it?

I may have gone a bit overboard but the above illustrations are very close (if not exactly) what some people who read the Book of Revelation today assume it to mean. I'm going to get into trouble here (I do not mean to offend anyone) but most commentators hold there are basically 4 ways to interpret the Book of Revelation. I don't hold to any of them, so in a few minutes I'll be introducing you to a 5th way. Let me say at the outset that I do not think this additional way to interpret the Book of Revelation is at all new.

(Let the yelling commence)

The four ways to interpret the Book of Revelation in brief3:
  1. One way to view Revelation is the idealist view, or the spiritual view. This view uses the allegorical method to interpret the Book of Revelation.
  2. The Preterist View. Preter, which means "past," is derived from the Latin. There are two views among preterists: full preterism and partial preterism. Both views believe that the prophecies of the Olivet discourse (Matthew 24) and Revelation were fulfilled in the first century with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Full preterism tends toward heresy.
  3. The Historicist view of Revelation teaches Revelaton is a symbolic representation of the course of history from the apostle's life through the end of the age.
  4. The Futurist View holds that the events of the Olivet Discourse and chapters 4-22 of Revelation will occur in the future. Further more, Futurists argue that a consistently literal or plain interpretation is to be applied in understanding the Book of Revelation and reject (most) allegorical interpretation. The most popular and widely held Futurist view today is found in dispensational theology.

I could be wrong but it seems to me that all four of these views would be a source of confusion rather than an unveiling to the first hearers of Revelation. I know they are all a source of confusion for me. The weaknesses of these views have been addressed by others so I'm going to set aside a discussion of  the weakness inherent in these positions during this discussion. The remaining space in the post will be used to briefly describe the method I think best fits the contentions I have so far made in previous posts:

  1. Revelation is a revealing not a concealing of events that must soon take place.
  2. The readers and hearers of this book are expected to keep what is written in it; how could we do this unless we can understand the meaning of the book when we read or hear it?  Revelation is unique in that it promises a blessing to those who read, hear, and keep it. The reading and hearing is one half of the promise of the blessing, the keeping of it is the other half. The command with the blessing implies that both can be accomplished.
  3. Scripture, including the Book of Revelation, cannot have one meaning for the 1st century church and a whole different meaning for those of us who live in the 21st century. This principle is derived from the Analogy of Faith which has two main points:
    1. Scripture interprets Scripture. Because there is no contradictions in the Scriptures we must compare a proposed interpretation of a Scripture passage with what other parts of the Bible teaches.
    2. Closely related to this concept is that the clearer passages of Scripture interpret the unclear passages of Scripture.

There is one other important point to take into consideration -- What were the very first written Scriptures the early church had in its possession? The answer is, of course, the collection of books that we now refer to as the Old Testament. The early church also had the advantage of the teachings of the Apostles and, as they came into being and circulated, the Writings of the Apostles -- those books which we now refer to as the New Testament. The first members of the first New Testament churches were Jews, although it did not take long for Gentiles to begin to be added to the number of the elect. There is no doubt that the early church read extensively from the Old Testament and from the writings of the Apostles. In short, the 1st century church knew (what has become known as) their Bible and they were diligent about using it -- consider the case of the Bereans (Acts 17:10-13) as example: 

"The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds."

Notice that the Jews of Berea were found "examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so". Note that the Scriptures that the Bereans had to have been searching was the Old Testament. But the Jews in Thessalonica didn't examine the Scriptures but instead (and perhaps because they did not turn first to Scriptures) became the source of all kinds of trouble. I think in much the same way, when we hear someone teach the Word if from Genesis or from Revelation or anything between, we should examine the Scriptures…to see if the things being taught are so. By example the Bereans have showed us the better way. It is no less important, perhaps even more important, that when we read and come to a conclusion about the meaning of a particular Bible passage, we should follow the Berean example and "examine the Scriptures" to see if our conclusion is Biblical or in error.

Words have a meaning and the words of Revelation have a meaning. We can understand Revelation and, usually, we do not have to look any further than the other books of the Bible (and sometimes the Book of Revelation itself) to begin to comprehend the meaning of the words of this prophetic book. If you didn't catch it, let me restate this point because it is very important, the whole Bible has to be taken into account when seeking to understand Revelation…as someone (I wish I could find the citation to give them due credit) pointed out, Revelation is the most Biblical book of the Bible.

And that, my friends, is how we should read it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Time Is Near

Back in 1947 the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created The Doomsday Clock. The hands on the face of this ominous symbolic clock countdown to the midnight of worldwide global disaster. The closer the Clock hands move to midnight, the closer the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science Security Board believes the world to be to global disaster. Since its beginning, The Doomsday Clock hands have been moved 20 times in response to dangerous international situations. On January 14, 2013 the hands of the Doomsday Clock were set to five minutes before midnight (11:55 PM). An announcement about whether the hands will move again will be made January, 2014.

Originally, the Doomsday Clock reflected the perceived eminence of the threat of global nuclear war, but in 2007 additional criteria was added to the calculations reflecting the presumed impact of life science developments such as climate change.2 Interestingly, the closest the Doomsday Clock hands were ever been moved to the midnight of human disaster came in 1953. At that time the clock was updated to  two minutes before midnight (11:58 PM). The greatest number of minutes ever added to the clock came in 1991 when 17 minutes were added because the United States and Soviet Union signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

If I may take the liberty, it is as if when the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science Security Board issues their yearly Doomsday report they are saying "these things must soon take place, for the time is near"! Everyone pays attention to the warning and no one demurs because the predictions of previous years did not end with the obliteration of mankind by the blasts of an intercontinental thermonuclear holocaust.

No, the warnings contained within the report of those who set the hands of this clock are taken seriously by the world's intellectual and political elite. Certainly no one ever questions the relevancy of the prophetic voice of the Doomsday clock  even though it has been stuck at 17 minutes to midnight or less for the past 66 years.

Yet the prophetic voice of the Book of Revelation speaks with an authority greater than that of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists about a coming time of great turmoil and harm for mankind and the planet earth. Likewise we are warned again and again within the pages of the Revelation that these things will soon take place (Rev 1:1; 2:16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:6; 22:7; 22:12; and 22:20). But let me ask, does it bother you that "He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon."" (Rev 22:20) but he hasn't come yet? What does soon mean?

By way of shaming us I'm going to point out that no wastes one second of worry when the end doesn't come soon because the hands of the Doomsday Clock are set at 2 minutes to midnight. And no one doubts the seriousness of its promised catastrophes and threats. There has been no end, on the other hand, to the weakening of our faith in the trustworthiness of the Holy Scripture because Christ has not yet returned -- all because that word soon was included in the Revelation of Jesus Christ! Why do you doubt (Matthew 14:31)? "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2 Peter 3:9)".

On the other hand, we are conditioned by a relatively short life span (I suspect that even living to the age of 100 seems all to short when you arrive at its end), by calendars, and clocks, and seasons, and deadlines to think about the word "soon" as being something that is near chronologically speaking. And it is; but we should keep in mind that time can also be relative -- it can seem to speed up or slow down depending on the nearness or importance of the events to us personally.

In the previous post we briefly discussed that the revelations given in this book must happen, now we turn our consideration to the fact that they are to surely happen shortly-- that is the revelations of this book would begin to come to pass very shortly and the whole of it will be completed in a short time.3 I am certain that the people in the churches at Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea did not doubt the meaning of the word "soon" either in terms of the trials "soon" to befall them or in terms of the promised rewards that awaited them. Now, I should also note in this context that the promise of the soon return of Christ is given in 22:11 (and no, I do not doubt that the seven churches doubted the chronological  soon-ness of His return). This is why we can have confidence that not just parts of it but the whole of it will come to pass soon.

Eschatologically speaking, the time when the whole thing will be completed is not only soon, but very soon. The Apostle John told us in 1 John 2:18 :

"Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour" (emphasis added).

 And we know from Scripture that the last hour began with the death and resurrection of Christ (Hebrews 1:2):

"but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world (emphasis added)."

(This may be a good time to read other related passages showing that the we live in the time of the end: 1 Peter 1:20; Hebrews 9:26; and Acts 2 are all good places to begin. Be sure to read the entire context of these passages to!

This is a topic we will continue to take up from time to time as we continue through the Book of Revelation. And each time we do we will find that we should and can have absolute confidence in every word of it. It is the last hour and let us have the same great comfort in His soon coming as did those who first heard the reading of this Revelation!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Apocalypsis Iēsou Christou

1. The words 'Apocalypsis Iēsou Christou' are the Greek transliteration of the first 3 words of verse 1. These words are usually translated as "The revelation of Jesus Christ,". Two words are inserted in English that are not present in the Greek: 'The' and 'of'. I don't want this discussion to be technical-- I have no qualifications to carry on a technical linguist discussion of Greek for one thing. For another, it's not only boring but, I think, misses the whole point about Revelation being a book that can be understood by the reader. But here's where I am going in bringing this up-- does the phrase 'The revelation of Jesus Christ' mean it is a revelation about Jesus Christ or is it a revelation from Jesus Christ?

2. There is a lot to be said about viewing this book as a revelation about Jesus Christ. More than 2,000 years separate us from the last remaining witness of the life of Jesus. Most of us have grown up knowing the principle parts of the story-- the virgin birth, the manager scene, the Sermon on the Mount, the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. We also live in a time and age when people who don't even follow religion are nonetheless familiar with figures and images from Revelation1 even if it is through a distorted and not particularly helpful set of lenses. In short we are accustomed to at least part of the entire Christian narrative and take it for granted; but such was not always the case. The early church had the Gospels and the Letters of the Apostles but until Revelation had been penned and spread throughout the world, they did not yet have the images of Christ portrayed within the pages of Revelation. Just think about what it must have been like to hear this book read for the very first time! To the images of Christ coming as a helpless babe in a manager depicted in the Gospel narratives, Revelation added images of the returning unconquerable, triumphant King; where the Crucified One was once mocked by the Romans with a sign affixed above His cross proclaiming Him King of the Jews, in Revelation He returns with the words "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" emblazoned on His robe and His thighs;  where people once accused Him of having a demon because of His teaching, Revelation shows Him riding forward and slaying His enemies with the sword of His mouth. Comparing and contrasting how Jesus is portrayed  in the Gospels, in the Epistles, and in the Book of Revelation has the potential of being a fruitful study on its own. And I may pursue that at a later time. But for now…

3. Even though a study of Revelation as being about Jesus Christ may be fruitful in many ways, it is likely that the meaning of this phrase is that the book is a revelation from Jesus Christ. Though Christ is central to its message, as we shall see, revelation is foremost a depiction of future history given by God and Jesus to the Church. The focus of Revelation then are the events of history as decreed by the Father and mediated by the Son.

4. Why "must" these things take place (verse 1)? Because nothing has been left to chance, the outcome has already been decreed, and events are unfolding exactly as written.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Three More Things

There are three things that I would like to add a little more detail about in the coming days before moving on in our exploration of the Book of Revelation.

These three things are:

  1. A few thoughts about the meaning and implications of the phrase "The revelation of Jesus Christ" (verse 1).
  2. Discussing the meaning and implication of Biblical phrases such as "things that must soon take place" and "for the time is near" (verses 1 and 3).
  3. And finally, giving a bit more thought to discussion point 4 of the post titled 'Prologue'. Specifically adding a little more detail around this statement: "...whatever the Book of Revelation meant to its original audience, it has to mean the same thing to us. Scripture cannot have one meaning for the 1st century church and a whole different meaning for those of us who live in the 21st century." 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Prologue

1The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
(Revelation 1:1-3)

1. Many people approach the Book of Revelation with a bit of weariness assuming its content to be all but indecipherable. But is it reasonable to assume that God would give us Scripture that we cannot understand? According to the first three verses of that Book, no this is not a reasonable assumption. In fact, these verses tell us just the opposite - we can understand it! The word revelation, or revealing, tells us that something is to be revealed not concealed. Moreover, it is a revealing for 'his servants', not just for deep thinkers or Ph.D.'s, not for psychics or talking heads, but for the followers of Christ. Revelation is a book that can be understood by the followers of Jesus Christ.
2. Special care was also given to provide the Book's provenance:

  1. God gave the revelation to Jesus Christ (v.1)
  2. Jesus sent an angel to make the revelation known to John (v.1)
  3. The angel communicated it to John (vv.1 and 2)
  4. John "bore witness…to all that he saw" (v.2 and ff)

Just as the provenance for an object of art can help establish that it has not been altered or forged and therefore of its value, the provenance of the Book of Revelation helps assure us of the authenticity and value of this revelation which God has entrusted to His Church.

3. Consider also how that careful attention was given to document the Book of Revelation's provenance yet God signified the authenticity and value of the prophecy of this book by a second sign. This is how Matthew Henry described this second attestation:

" It is observable that the historical books of the Old Testament have not always the name of the historian prefixed to them, as in the books of Judges, Kings, Chronicles; but in the prophetical books the name is always prefixed, as in Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc. So in the New Testament, though John did not prefix his name to his first epistle, yet he does to this prophecy, as ready to vouch and answer for the truth of it; and he gives us not only his name, but his office. He was one who bore record of the word of God in general, and of the testimony of Jesus in particular, and of all things that he saw; he was an eye-witness, and he concealed nothing that he saw. Nothing recorded in this revelation was his own invention or imagination; but all was the record of God and the testimony of Jesus; and, as he added nothing to it, so he kept back no part of the counsels of God." (emphasis added)

4. In verse three a special blessing is pronounced for those who labor to read aloud and hear and who keep what is written in this book. Here we have I think a clue about how we can begin to understand the Book of Revelation - simply by reading and hearing it read. Recently I watched a 30 minute TV program on which a well-known "Bible scholar" spoke about how difficult it is for the uninitiated to understand 'Revelations' (yes, he actually said "Revelations" with an 's' on several times). Of course he was offering a book he authored, a work book complete with charts and graphs, and even over 4 hours of 'crassest tapes' that together can 'open up' the book for those that are willing to put in the time required to do the hard work of study. As an added bonus for those who took advantage of the offer before the program ended, he threw in a set of 8 colored markers that can be used to color code their Bible verses to match his study system.

I didn't choose to take advantage of his offer but, in comparison, I think the Bible's recommendation to read and hear Revelation is most straight forward and, no doubt, far less complicated. You should give it a try and do it repetitively-- you might just be surprised about the themes and thoughts you pick up on and when you do, make a note of it, jot it down so that you can remember to follow up on the thought or flow of thought later.

I am given to understand that this is how scripture was disseminated to local congregations in the early 1st century church (what we think of as Bibles were not in circulation although the Scriptures were)-- those who had the necessary literacy would read the Scripture publicly so that all members of the congregation could benefit from the reading. Obviously, this means that those who read and those who heard the readings would be able to understand what they herd so that they could in fact respond by keeping what had been written. If they could understand by hearing what was read, so can we. In fact, I think this brings up an important concept that should be mentioned at this point. And that is, whatever the Book of Revelation meant to its original audience, it has to mean the same thing to us. Scripture cannot have one meaning for the 1st century church and a whole different meaning for those of us who live in the 21st century. Scripture means what it means. For this reason, I'm pretty sure that fanciful notions about the Book of Revelation referencing America or Russia or helicopters, or Atomic weapons , etc. almost certainly miss the mark. The second thing that should be noted here is that it is necessary to "Keep what is written in it". Inherent within this exhortation is that the content of the book is understandable enough to be kept. The reading and hearing is one half of blessing, the keeping is the other half. It is implied that both can be accomplished.

So. That's the challenge for you. Take an hour or two. And read the book out loud, read it to a loved one or to a friend. Read it from beginning to end. And then take time to listen to it being read. If there's not another person willing to read it for you to listen to then try out listening to it on line at or the Bible.IS app available from Faith Comes by Hearing. Listen to it several times. Read it several times and keep reading it. There's a blessing waiting for you by doing this. Nothing is more sure than a promise promised by God.


The Revelation of Jesus Christ can be understood by his people. He gave it to us to show the things that must soon take place and He not only gave us the instructions how to understand it (by reading it aloud and hearing it read and keeping what it written in it ) but He promised a special blessing for those that would do this.

Monday, September 30, 2013


It's probably a good idea to start discussing the Book of Revelation by identifying the assumptions (presuppositions) I used during the major portion of my studies.  They are:

  1. The Book of Revelation is inspired Scripture and therefor like "All Scripture" it "is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim 3:16-17, ESV).
  1. John the Apostle was the author of the book.
  2. The book was probably written around the mid-90s AD. I'm not dogmatic on this date and there are some people who I respect that argue that Revelation was written at a much earlier date.
  3. Although it is not an assumption, at this point it's probably a good idea to indicate that unless otherwise noted, I'll quote Scripture from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

That's it. That's all of them.

Oh, I probably should say that when I started studying Revelation I began with a lot more presuppositions then I ended the study with. The assumptions that didn't make the cut kept getting in the way of me being able to understand the text. I may post more about this in the future but I think this is sufficient for now.

Of course, you are free to disagree with these assumptions and/or to have a point of view that others should have been included or even that some or all of these should have been excluded. That's fine, I'm just trying to define the view point I used to help me during my studies.