For more than 1,900 years Theologians and lay people alike have sought to unravel and understand one of the most mysterious books the world has ever seen: The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. This book is the road map to the future of the whole human race. Believe it or not, like it or not, God has made known to us His plan to address and judge the wickedness of this world, and to reward those who seek truth and righteousness under His leadership.
Scripture makes it abundantly clear to us that God divides all people into groups according to their spiritual condition. Everyone can probably agree that there are at least two groups: the righteous and the wicked (the good and the bad, as most people reckon it). Scripturally speaking, these two groups constitute the extremes, being totally opposite in what they represent, and in what they aspire to achieve. The fate of both groups is sealed: "...God is angry with the wicked every day" (Ps. 7:11) but, "The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their cries" (Ps. 34:15).
The very nature of these two groups creates a seperation or gap between them, so that it is not possible for one who dies to leave his place (or group) and go to the other. This is made quite clear in the account of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16: 20-31). In this world, the gap which exist between the righteous and the wicked is filled by a third group of people: the sinner. Every person in the world starts out in this group; and each one in this group is, through the life they live, moving towards one of the two extremes previously mentioned. The Book of Revelation holds a message for all three groups. First, to the wicked it says, You are doomed! You will not succeed in what you aspire to achieve. Secondly, to the sinner it says, You are warned, God's patience with you is almost quenched. Repent, lest you be suddenly cut off and appointed a place with the wicked. Finally, to the righteous it says, be strong in your faith, wait for your God and He will reveal and give to you great things which you could never imagine. God is extremely merciful. There is a time appointed whereby we have full access to that mercy. The time is now! The day will come however, when that mercy, offered to the sinner, will be halted; and the only thing left will be His Divine wrath and judgment. To view brief chapter summaries of this Bible Study, Click Here.
The Book which we call the Revelation of Jesus Christ, actually consist of a book within a book. There are differences of opinions as to who the John of the Book of Revelation was. Suffice it to say, that he was a person of great credibility. Given the fact that the Apostle John was the only surviving Apostle at the time the Book of Revelation was sent to the churches; and that he had been exiled to the Island of Patmos, where it is stated that the book was written: it would seem most probable that he is the John who was caught up to heaven and received these things. It was written during the reign of the Roman Emperor, Domitian near the close of the first century A.D., when persecution of the Church was on the rise. After the death of Domitian, John returned from exile to Ephesus where he spent the remainder of his days. Exactly when the book was delivered to the seven churches of Asia is not known; but wording in chapter one seems to suggest that it was delivered shortly after his return from exile. Given the urgency of the messages to be delivered to the seven churches (chapters 2-3); it indicates that the actual vision of the Revelation, which he was shown in heaven, occurred just prior to his return to Ephesus.
We shall see in the following study that John, to whom it was committed to present the Revelation of Jesus Christ to the churches, was commanded to write all that he saw in a book and "...send it..." to the seven churches of Asia. During the writing of this book, a second book, in the hands of Him who sat on the throne, was opened in heaven (Chapter 6:1). Scripture tells us that in heaven and earth, only the Lamb (Jesus) was found worthy to receive and open the actual Book of the Revelation, which was in the hand to Him (God the Father) who sat on the throne. The things which John was shown, after the Lamb of God opened that book, were included in the book which John was commanded to write. John was never given, or allowed to copy, the actual Book of the Revelation given to the Lamb in heaven; but its contents, and the other activities in heaven shown to John, constitute the book we call, The Revelation of Jesus Christ.
The Book which John was commanded to write is basically divided into two major visions: The vision of Jesus and the seven churches of Asia; and the vision of the judgements of God against the wickedness of this world (commonly called "the Tribulation" or the "Great Tribulation"). Within the second vision, are additional visions, such as the vision of the judgment of the great city, Babylon: which ends with the visible and physical manifestation or revelation of Jesus Christ to establish His kingship over the earth. There is also the vision of New Jerusalem, with the new heaven and the new earth.