Thoughts on the Passage
Now we begin the final section of the book of Revelation—the things yet to come. Here is a summary of the outline for the Book of Revelation:
· Introduction (ch. 1)
· Vision of Jesus (ch. 1)
· Messages to the Seven Churches (ch. 2–3)
· The Throne scene and the Seven Seals (ch. 4–7)
· The Altar Scene and the Seven Trumpets (ch. 8–11)
· First Woman—Israel (ch. 12–14)
· Second Woman—Whore of Babylon (ch. 15–19)
· Third Woman—Bride of Christ (ch. 19–22)
· Benediction (ch. 22)
Also, we now have a challenge. The remaining 19 chapters deal with things to come. However, when do we start understanding when these things to come should start making sense? Did the early church understand this portion of the book of Revelation, or did we need centuries of history before it makes sense? To answer that I review the beginning of Revelation 1:3—Blessed is the person who reads… hears…obeys these words. That means that they had a significant measure of understanding. Also, at the end, there is a command to not add or subtract anything to these words. So clearly, God expected them to understand this book fairly well. God expected their understanding to release blessing and to not require a lot of interpretation for it to make sense.
If that is the case, then we today need to understand what they understood. We need to build our understanding first on what God expected them to know and not treat it as meaningless. As a result, I am going to work through this book and deal primarily with a first-century understanding of the book of Revelation. I believe that if we understand what God wanted them to know, then we can accurately add the last twenty centuries of information with greater understanding and accuracy.
Finally, looking at the book of Revelation in this manner gets away from a lot of the “end-time frenzy” that often accompanies the book of Revelation. We are looking back at history which is much easier to understand. It opens the door to simplicity as well.
So, today we thank God for the expectation of simplicity, of understanding, and of blessing that He promised for this book. We thank God for the foundation of understanding of this book as revealed to John and the churches.
Father, this frees us up to understand what You have for us in this book. I want to understand this book because there are powerful blessings yet to be understood and received. In the letters to Your churches, we have seen beautiful pictures of Your understanding of each city, church and people within the churches; also, we see Your passionate heart for all of the people of Your churches. It does not matter who they were or the problems they had, You loved them—and whom You love, You discipline. Yes, You disciplined many of them to build into them the character of God. So as we move to the next section of this great book, give us great understanding, a great love for Jesus, and a great appreciation for Your plan for us. It is a plan for our blessing, and it is a plan for our good. So reveal it! I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.