Introduction and Preface to the Revelation
Introduction to Revelation
Perhaps the most controversial book of the Bible is the Revelation, which concludes the sacred canon. Its very nature pulls the various prophetic themes in the OT and NT together, into one final message!
The Book of Revelation is the true capstone of the Bible
It supplies the finishing touch to the whole panorama of the Biblical story. It is truly the book of consummation. That which is begun in the Book of Genesis is brought to its conclusion in the Book of Revelation.(1)
Lehman Strauss helps us see the value of Revelation in view of it being the concluding book of the Bible, Culminating where Genesis began.
Genesis is the book of commencement; Revelation is the book of consummation. Revelation is an excellent finish to the divine library. Genesis, the commencement of Heaven and Earth, Revelation, the consummation of Heaven and Earth; Genesis, the entrance of sin and the curse, Revelation, the end of sin and the curse; Genesis, the dawn of Satan and his activities, Revelation, the doom of Satan and his activities; Genesis, the tree of life is regained; Genesis, death makes an entrance, Revelation, death makes its exit; Genesis, sorrow begins, Revelation, sorrow is banished.(2)
Two extreme attitudes must be avoided as related to the Book of revelation: 1.) The attitude that the Revelation cannot be understood and should he ignored. "Calvin refused to write a commentary on Revelation, and gave it very little consideration in his massive writings. Luther for years avoided its teachings."
(3) Barnhouse notices this wrong attitude
There is an opinion that has been circulated widely from pulpit and pew that this book is too vague, too obscure, too complex to be understood by any ordinary mind. The devil likes to have people believe this. There are men-even men who have been ordained as supposed interpreters of God's Word-who say that it is not a book to be preached, that it contains too much Oriental symbolism which cannot be understood in our day. Others say that it is a book reserved only for the most profound students and the deepest thinkers. (Donald Grey Barnhouse, p. 15)
Although modern scholarship has generally neglected study of the Revelation, this has not characterized the
Down through the ages, it has been like a magnet, irresistibly drawing to its study Christians of every school of thought, laymen, clergy, and professors. (Wilbur Smith, p. 1491)
2.) The attitude that the Revelation can be totally understood in all specific detail. Some who have become preoccupied with the book have arrogantly left the impression that every symbol, sign and chronological detail can be dogmatically set forth. The Bible student must understand at the beginning, that the revelation is a difficult book to study, requiring humility and diligence!
In some sense, the book is the conclusion to all previous biblical revelation and logically reflects the interpretation of the rest of the Bible. The expositor is faced with innumerable hermeneutical decisions before beginning the task of understanding the peculiar contribution of the book of Revelation, an understanding made more difficult by the fact that his decisions not only color the exposition of the book itself but also in a sense constitute an interpretation of all that precedes it in the Scriptures. (John F. Walvoord, p. 7)
Unfortunately, some even make these details an issue of fellowship! Although this is a book that invites careful reflection, all details await the time of fulfillment for dogmatic evaluation and the setting of dates. Chronological dogma for prophetic sequence is not a proper basis for Christian fellowship. Hence, so many of the creeds of Christianity omitted prophetic sequence. A local church or institution may include their opinion for prophetic sequence but not state it in a dogmatic fashion and exclude fellowship from those who hold to a different view of tribulation or even millennial truth.
(4) The interpretation of the Revelation generally have followed one of
four main approaches:
1.) The Preterist View. From the Latin praeter (meaning "past") this view sees the book as confined to events in the first century. The author John was recording the conflicts of persecution happening to his readers and within the Roman Empire. This view has merit, in that it does provide a historical setting for the Book of Revelation, giving meaning to the original audience. However, this point is also its central weakness: if it only records the events of the early church, then its specific value for the church through the coming ages is only historical. Those holding a
preterist view usually redate Revelation to around A. D. 68 during the reign of Nero, so that it could retain its claimed
prophetic character. (cf. 1:1; 22:7, 10-19). Some Roman Catholic preterists, however, see the two beasts in Revelation 13 as Nero and Domitian, the two emperors who most persecuted the Jews and Christian church. This ignores excellent external evidence for the dating of Revelation to be around A.D. 96, during the reign of
It was the testimony of the early Church that the Apocalypse was written during the latter part of the reign of Domitian, who was emperor from A. D. 81-96. The earliest known witness is Irenaeus who wrote that John saw his visions "no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian's reign' (Against Heresies 5.30.3; cf. 2:22.5; 3.3.4). Irenaeus wrote some eighty-five years after the death of Domitian.(5)
2.) The Historically Continuous View. This view acknowledges the prophetic emphasis of the Revelation, seeing it as an inspired forecast of the history of the church from apostolic days to the Second Coming. The Revelation sets forth the major turning points in the history of the church, i.e., the emperor Constantine, rise of the Papacy, the apostasy of the church, the Goths, the Reformation, the Jesuits, the first French revolution, the rise of Hitler and World War II, etc.
John Walvoord also mentions the allegorical approach, originating with the Alexandrian School of Theology, i.e., Clement, Origin, and influencing Jerome, Augustine and modern scholars such as historical view considered here.
Unfortunately, the historical view has caused most to force the events into their known history and culminate during their own time. It lends itself to an allegorical method of interpretation, where subjective and selective history all too often becomes the governing rule of determination.
As many as fifty different interpretations of the book of revelation
depending on the time and circumstances of the expositor.(6)
If history is the key to the proper interpretation of the Apocalypse, then a knowledge of ecclesiastical and political history spanning centuries is necessary for an understanding of the Revelation. Then the vast majority of people are cut off from understanding it. (cf. Heibert, p. 265).
3.) The Idealist View. Sometimes also called the spiritualizing theory, interprets the book of Revelation as symbolic metaphor of the great struggle between good and evil. This does not demand prophecy, except in the sense that in all ages this struggle continues. Augustine of Hippo adopted this spiritual reading of Revelation, influencing the next seven centuries. Hence, for these interpreters the Revelation was simply a moral teaching book against vice and error in the church.
4.) The Futurist View. This best way of viewing the Revelation sees chapter 4 as beginning the setting forth the end-time events, with 6-19 relating to
the great tribulation. Within this school of interpretation there are various theories of the chronology of events: pre-tribulationism, partial rapture, mid-tribulationism, pre-wrath, post-tribulationism, etc. This view has the advantage of a more literal interpretation, with the prophetic events pointing to a literal Second Coming, final judgment and new heaven/earth.
(7) Expositors of this view were the Puritans, John F. Walvoord, Dwight Pentecost, Gleason Archer, Robert Gundry, George Ladd, Robert Van Kampen, Wilbur Smith, John MacArthur, Jr., etc. With this futuristic view in mind, notice several comments
We are living in the strangest days that man has ever known. The world has passed through terrible times before, but never has the whole earth been so bound together in its wild plunging through one catastrophe after another as today. There have been wars down through the ages, but never wars that have touched so many nations as the conflicts through which we have passed in this generation. There have been political crises, but not on a scale that touched all of the continents. Thoughtful Bible students agree almost universally that we are living near the end of the age, and that at any moment the outline of prophetic events preserved for us will begin its course of fulfillment. The world will then rush rapidly through all of the scenes of history, which God has written in advance. The book of revelation is the book for the present hour.(8)
Devoting our educational efforts to infants between six and twenty-nine seems futile. The world may not last long enough. (Chancellor Robert M. Hutchins, University of Chicago) The handwriting on the wall of five continents now tells us that the Day of Judgment is at hand. (Dr. William Yogt in Road to Civilization) All over the world the thinkers and searchers who scan the horizon of the future are attempting to assess the values of civilization and speculating about its destiny. (Dr. Charles Beard, American historian) To many ears comes the sound of the tramp of doom. Time is short. (Dr. Raymond B. Fosdik, President of the Rockefeller Foundation) This world is the end of its tether. The end of everything we call life is close at hand. (H. G. Wells, before he died) I am a frightened man, and I want to frighten you. (Dr. Urey, University of Chicago, who worked on Atomic bomb.)
Other areas of general introduction to Revelation will be considered at places within the book itself.
The Preface of Revelation
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (vss. 1-3)
A.The Title of the Book: the revelation of Jesus Christ. The Greek term translated
revelation is apokalupsis, means a disclosure or unveiling of something otherwise hidden. Literally, it means to
take the cover off something, in order to manifest it. (10) This is in contrast to the Apocryphal books, i.e.,
hidden, as Revelation is meant to be understood.
[Apocalyptic literature] flourished in Israel from Maccabean times [175 B.C.] until the final defeat or Bar Kokhba in a. D. 135. As a rule these revelations about the future or about the structure of heaven were not signed by their true authors but were fictitiously attributed to some great man of Israel's past. (11)
However, John also calls this a prophesy (cf. 1:3; 22:7, 10, 10-19), wrote it like an
epistle (cf. 1:1-4; 22:21), with elements of an edict (chapters 2-30, hence most recognize revelation as a unique combination: a prophetic message in apocalyptic and epistolary form, containing an authoritative edict from Jesus Christ.
B. The Source of the Book: of Jesus Christ. Two possibilities have been debated concerning the genitive: 1.)
Objective genitive, i.e., Jesus Christ is the one being revealed. (12) It is true that the book has a special emphasis on the unveiling of the glory of Jesus Christ. For example
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength
Fear not; I am the first and the last: (cf. Rev. 1:13-17) And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals therof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. (cf. Rev. 5:1-10) And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KINGS OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS, (cf. Rev. 19:11-16)
Two primary reasons are given, that this is a revelation about Jesus Christ: first, in vs. 1
the angel is said to be the reveler of the message. If the angel reveals the message, then Jesus Christ does not and would be the one who is revealed. However, later in the book Christ reveals through angels (cf. 17:1; 21:9)
The second reason is that in the NT the noun apokalupsis is usually followed by an
objective genitive (cf. Rom. 2:5; 8:19; I Cor. 1:7; 2 Cor. 12:1; Gal. 1:12; 2 Thess. 1:7; I Pet. 1:7,13). However, a good case can be built to consider at least 2 Cor. 12:1and Gal. 1:12 as
subjective genitives. For example
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. (cf. 2 Cor. 12:1)
Although the revelations of the Lord could refer to the revelations about the Lord, i.e., objective genitive, it's better to view these as revelations
from the Lord, i.e., subjective genitive. Paul was caught up to the third heaven by the Lord and had revelations. cf. 2 Cor. 12:2ff. Another similar example
For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (cf. Gal. 1:12)
Once again, although some conclude the revelation of Jesus Christ refers to a revelation about the Lord, i.e., objective genitive, it's better to view this as a revelation
from Jesus Christ, i.e., subjective genitive. The Lord was the one giving Paul the glimpse of heavenly wonders and unspeakable revelations.
2.) Subjective genitive, i.e., Jesus Christ is the one revealing. (13) That is, the revelation is given by Jesus Christ to John as God gave it to Him. The internal evidence of the book shows that Jesus Christ functions as the revealer. (cf. 2-3; 5:5-7; 6:1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12; 8:1) This is the proper view, as the unfolding of end time events culminates with the revelation of Jesus Christ but is not limited to that. Also, the pronoun, i.e.,
which God gave unto Him, refers to Jesus Christ. It was a revelation which God gave to Jesus Christ. Also this best agrees with Rev. 22:16
I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (cf. Rev. 22:16)
God gave the revelation to Jesus Christ, who gave it to the angel, who gave it to John, who wrote it to His slaves [i.e., believers] of the seven churches, passed down to all Christians throughout the centuries. As Robert Thomas summarizes the process
There are five agents in the chain of revelation outlined in 1:1. The Father revealed to Christ who, in turn, revealed either directly or through the angel to John whose responsibility it was to transmit data to Christ's servants. Instances when Christ used the angel are illustrated in 17:1 and 21:9. Sometimes, however, Christ revealed directly to John as in 6:9-17.(14)
C. The Purpose of the Book: to show to God's servants what must shortly come to pass. The infinitive
to show is an aorist, viewing all the visions or content of the book as one great showing. (Lenski, p. 28) This great showing by Jesus Christ is directed to God's
slaves, a reference to Christians in general. (15) These things
must shortly, i.e., they will take place in speedy rapid-fire sequence once they begin: they will be sudden.
(16) Within only seven years the majority of events (4:1-20:3)
come to pass, which precise phrase, is mentioned at 4:1 and again in 22:6
(17) It is determined by God's will to happen!
After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things must be hereafter. (cf. Rev. 4:1)
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. (cf. Rev. 22:6)
Hence, the events of 4:1 through 22:6 must happen with speed, in a rapid sequence, fulfilling what Daniel predicted and Jesus repeated in His Olivet Discourse. Once they start, it will seem the activity of God and His judgment on the earth dwellers happen with unimaginable speed!
D. The Transmission of the Book: He sent and signified it by His angel unto John. Through symbolic language and angelic ministry, John was given the revelation. Significant is the omission that would further identify John, suggesting that he knew his readers would know who he was and the authority on which he wrote.
It is a psychological impossibility that these letters to the Asian Churches could have been written except by one who felt himself, and had the right to feel himself, charged with the superintendant and oversight of all those Churches, invested with Divinely given and absolute authority over them, gifted by long knowledge and sympathy with insight unto their nature and circumstances, able to understand the line on which each was developing, and finally bringing to a focus in one moment of supreme inspiration-whose manner none but himself could understand or imagine-all the powers he possessed of knowledge, of intellect, of intensest love, of gravest responsibility of sympathy with the Divine life, of commission from his Divine teacher.(18)
The early church comes close to being unanimous that John the Apostle was the human author of Revelation.
(19) And there is strong external evidence
that the Apostle John pastored in Ephesus and was exiled to the island of Patmos under the persecutions of Domitian, with a traditional writing of Revelation about A.D. 95:
1.) The Apostle John arrived at Asia in the late 60's, at the time of the Jewish revolt from Rome, i.e., A.D. 66-70. This would not allow time for things to deteriorate from Paul/Timothy's ministry suggested in Rev. 2and 3. Nero died in A.D. 68.
2.)The city of Laodicea was totally destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 60 or 61, having long term effects on the area. Although Nero was involved in rebuilding Laodicea, it would hardly be a wealthy thriving city with a complacent local church, by the mid-60's.
This was, however, challenged by Dionysius, overseer of the Alexandrian church (A.D. 247 to 264) who suggested Revelation was written by another John from Ephesus, because of three basic reasons:
1)The difference in the general construction of Revelation from the Gospel of John and Epistles of John.
(20) But John would be without a secretary to polish the book, in difficult conditions.
2) The difference in vocabulary and style from Revelation and the Gospel of John and Epistles of John. But the situation and purpose of Revelation could account for this difference.
3.) The writer's self-identification, which is lacking in the Gospel of John and First John, but mentioned four times in Revelation. However, Dionysius's rejection of apostolic authorship was colored by his rejection of the physical 1,000-year reign of Christ on earth, wanting to view the work as allegorical, as his mentor Origen taught.
This Apostle John bore witness (cf. 1 John 1:1ff.) of the Word from God even
the testimony of Jesus Christ, along with everything that he saw by way of visions and revelations.
(22) He was faithful to record the message precisely, identifying with other believers as their
brother and companion in tribulation (cf. Rev. 1:9).
E. The Promise of the Book: Blessed are those who read, hear and keep the prophecy. This is the only book in the Bible which specifically promises a special blessing on those who publicly read it, those who listen to it and then apply its message. The
threefold act, resulting in this distinctive blessing, refers to: 1.) a public reading of the Scriptures in the local church with its explanation or exposition, 2.) the local church hearing or carefully listening to the message with understanding, and 3.) applying or complying with the moral and ethical standards of the message. This third act may have the connotation of remembering, pondering, or meditating on (Bullinger, p. 137) or better, the giving heed to and observing (Abbott-Smith, p. 445). As F. W. Grant writes, "This keeping is observing them in such a way that our practical conduct is governed by them." Thomas writes
The participle expression
reflects the early Christian practice of reading aloud the Scriptures in the services of the church. This, in turn, was a carryover from the procedure followed in the Jewish synagogues where most of the earliest Christians had participated. Because writing materials were expensive and scarce, so were copies of the books that were part of the biblical canon. As a rule, one copy per Christian assembly was the best that could be hoped for. Public reading was the only means that rank-and -file Christians had for becoming familiar with the contents of these books. An individual would therefore read aloud for the benefit of the rest of those assembled. It behooved the listeners to pay close attention, a habit in which they had been well trained. When written resources were unavailable, the memory had to be keen or else the data were lost.(23)
Other places in the NT command a careful public reading and explanation in the local church, following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ who continued the Jewish tradition of the reading of Moses, since the time of Ezra the scribe.
And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. (cf. Col. 4:16)
I charge you by the Lord that his epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. (cf. 1 Thess. 5:27)
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. (cf. 1 Tim. 4:13) Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. (cf. 1 Tim. 5:17)
And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. (cf. Luke 4:16-22)
For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day. (cf. Acts 15:21 compare with 13:27; 2 Cor. 3:15)
Yet this doesn't suggest that the riches of the book and the promised blessings come without effort of reflection. The unique character of the Revelation demands careful study!
The book of Revelation makes serious demands upon the would-be interpreter. It was originally given to God's servants and was communicated to them through his servant John (1:1). By its very nature, the Apocalypse cannot be expected to yield its true message to one who lives in the open disregard of God and His will (cf. Rev. 22:10-15)
Intellectual acumen and speculative ingenuity are not adequate equipment for the proper unfolding of its message. Spirit-guided receptivity is essential.(24)
This demand for careful interpretation extends to the spiritual life of the audience, i.e., it becomes an understandable book to those who are godly, who are rewarded access to the tree of life; it becomes a closed book to those who are ungodly, who are cursed by being cast away from God!
And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. [i.e., in contrast to Daniel's prophesy which was sealed until the time of the end. cf. Dan. 12:4]
And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (cf. Rev. 22:10-15)
Why is the reading, hearing and observing of this prophecy connected to a distinctive blessing? Because
the time is at hand. This is the motive assigned for reading, hearing and keeping the prophecy of Revelation. The sense is,
the epoch (Greek, kairos) is imminent or able to happen at once. Hence, procrastination of reading, hearing and observing could be disastrous!
Conclusion & Application
The Revelation or great unfolding future events was given by God the Father to His Son Jesus Christ, who passed it on through the angel to His special servant, the Apostle John. John, in turn recorded it faithfully, sending it to the servants of God amid the seven churches of Asia and down through the centuries to us today. This Revelation prepares us for the events that are determined by God to come in rapid sequence and because they are imminent, we should carefully read and explain the Revelation, carefully listen to and understand its message and observe by obeying it ethical and moral injunctions! When we do, we receive a special blessing from the Lord.
Today, the mills of God may grind slowly, but the day will come when the whole machinery of history will be slipped into high gear to run its fatal course to judgment
God has borne long with men. This is the day of His patience. In our day we see the furniture of Bible prophecy being moved into place upon the stage of world history. The curtain is ready to be drawn. This shall come to pass in God's moment. Then all that is written in the book of Revelation will come to pass, exactly as written-and it shall come speedily. (Barnhouse, p. 18)
Implied within the preface of Revelation is the Christian call to careful listening to the Bible read and explained. Jay Adams helpfully points out
The preacher must work with people who doze, resist, misunderstand, and easily become angry. The task of communicating God's message, therefore, is not simple
the listener plays an active role in the communication process-for good or ill
the Scriptures themselves say more about the listener's responsibility to hear, understand, and implement the message than about the preacher's obligation to faithfully preach it. (Adams, pp. 7-8)
1. D. Edmond Hiebert, An Introduction to the New Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1981), vol. 3, p. 231. W. A. Criswell writes: "It is a book in which all things in the Bible find an echo and a reverberation. It delineates the consummation of the age. It is the great goal toward which all of the plans and purposes of God in history reach." Expository Sermons on Revelation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishers, 1969), p. 13.
2.Lehman Strauss, The Book of the revelation (Neptune:Loizeaux Brothers, 1964), p. 17.
3. Wilbur M. Smith, Revelation, in the Wycliffe Commentary, ed. Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison (Chicago: Moody Press, 1962), p. 1491. T. Henshaw goes so far to claim: "In the last hundred years it has ceased to exercise direct influence on any but eccentric individuals who have no knowledge of modern theological scholarship." cf. New Testament Literature in the Light of Modern Scholarship (London: Allen & Unwin, 1957), pp. 417-418.
4. We would recommend that Grace Bible Church contain a premillennial and pretribulational statement, with a disclaimer that church membership not be restricted to those prophetic schools of thought. The local church however would be wise to contain in its doctrinal statement a request that those who hold different views here not be permitted to propagate their theories.
5. D. Edmond Hiebert, p. 253. William Hendriksen's commentary More Than Conquerors represents a preterist view of Revelation; also, David Chilton's Days of Vengeance (Dominion Press).
6.John F. Walvoord. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, A Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1966), p.99.
Representatives of this view are Joachim, Wycliffe, Luther, Isaac Newton, Elliott, Bengel and Barnes.
7. The central weakness of the Futurist View is that it "robs the book of all significance for the early Christians, and indeed, for all subsequent generations right up to the last." cf. Leon Morris, The Revelation of St. John. An Introduction and Commentary, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), p. 18. Not if there is a near historical application during the Domitian persecutions.
8. Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation: An Expositional Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971), p. 13. "If we know this book, we will be kept from any astonishment or fear as the age in which we live becomes dead ripe for plucking. There are terrible judgments coming upon the world. Those who know this book have no fear whatsoever; for the believer may know not only God's plan but his own personal place in that plan." P. 14.
9.Authorship will be considered at 1:1; theme and purpose of Revelation will be considered at 7-8; specific audience addressed will be considered at 1:4; the date and place of writing will be considered at 1:9.
10. From , away and , a cover, hence to uncover or a laying bare. cf. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T.&T. Clark, 1937), p. 50. Notice also, it is singular. It's not revelations but revelation. There was one great showing of the revelation to the Apostle John.
11.Glenn W. Baker, William Lane, J. Ramsey Michaels, The New Testament Speaks (New York: Harper and Row, 1969), p. 364. In contrast to other Jewish apocalyptic literature, Revelation's authorship is claimed by John the Apostle (cf. 1:1, 4, 9, 22:8). "Perhaps the strongest proof of the genuinely prophetic character of the book is the fact that the author writes under his own name to definite Christian churches of his own time and castigates them unsparingly. There is nothing similar in the apocryphal apocalyptic writings of Judaism." Alfred Wikenhauser, New Testament Introduction, p. 545.
12. Representatives of the objective genitive view are:
Seiss, I, 17; Bullinger, p. 34; Hort, p.4; Hoyt, pp. 20-21; John MacArthur, Jr. (Grace to You tape 66-1, 1991).
13. Swete, p. 1; Beckwith, p. 418; Charles, p. I, 6; Thomas, p. 52.
14. Robert L. Thomas, Exegetical Digest of Revelation 1-3
(Panorama City: 1985), pp. 10-11. Two available works by Robert L. Thomas will be documented in these notes: 1.) his 4 volume
Exegetical Digests of Revelation, i.e., EDR 1-3, EDR 4-7, etc. and 2.) his 2 volume
Exegetical Commentary of Revelation, i.e., ECR 1-7 and ECR 8-22.
15. R. H. Charles suggests the term slaves refers to prophets, but John is the only prophet mentioned in the Revelation. (p. 6) It's better to see slaves as a reference to
Christians. cf. Acts 2:18; 4:29. Revelation is specifically addressed to believers in the seven churches of Asia. Cf. 1:4; 2:1, 8,12, 18; 3:1,7,14.
16. Many interpret soon (Greek, en taxei) as nearness in time or
soon as to suggest imminent events. That is, as events that could happen at any time. cf. Thomas, EDR-1-3, p.12; Moffatt, V, 335; Scott, p. 243; Alford, IV, 545; John
MacArthur, Grace to You tape 66-1,1991). The strongest argument being that 22:6 favors this meaning. But this view is not probable because it has been nineteen hundred years since this prediction was made. The term is used as
speedily in Luke 18:8; Acts 12:7; 22:18; 25:4; Rom. 16:20, etc. Also, John uses tachys to refer to something that happens quickly, seven times: 2:5, 16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:7, 12, 20. cf. John F. Walvoord, p.35. We get our English word
tachometer, an instrument for measuring velocity.
17. The phrase things that shortly come to pass, was first used in Daniel 2:28-29, 45 (LXX) and followed by Jesus (cf. Matt. 24:6; Mk. 13:7; Lk. 21:90, drawing attention to things
determined by God that will in the future happen. They will happen! Lit., they must happen.
18. W. M. Ramsey, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994 edition), pp. 57,8.
19. Papias, Justin Martyr, the Muratorian Fragment, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen and Methodius. Thomas gives good advice to modern critics: "It is highly insulting to those leaders of the past to assume that we moderns can discover the truth and overrule their early testimony because of allegedly insightful discoveries of the NT. The earliest Christians were not ignorant and uninformed. We who have entered the inheritance which they preserved for us should show the highest respect for their collective accuracy and integrity." cf. Robert L. Thomas,
Revelation 1-7: An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1992), p. 11.
20. The former [i.e., Gospel of John and First John] are not only written in faultless Greek, but also show the greatest literary skill in their diction, their reasonings, and the constructions in which they are expressed. There is a complete absence of any barbarous word, or solecism, or any vulgarism whatever. For their author had, as it seems, both kinds of word, by the free gift of the Lord, the word of knowledge and the word of speech. But I will not deny that the other writer [i.e., of Revelation] had seen revelations and received knowledge and prophecy; nevertheless I observe his style and that his use of the Greek language is not accurate but that he employs barbarous idioms in some places committing downright solecisms. (cf. Eusebius 7.25)
21. R. H. Charles also challenges apostolic authorship of Revelation, following Dionysius's arguments with tighter proof. cf.
A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Revelation of St. John, 2 vol in ICC (Edinburgh: T&T. Clark, 1963), 1:xxxviii-1.
22. The connective kai (English,
and) is epexegetical, i.e., the word of God, even the testimony of Jesus Christ. The fuller description of the
word of God is the testimony of Jesus Christ.
23. Robert L. Thomas, ECR, p. 60. Because of contemporary lack of keen memory, it is imperative that Christians learn to carefully listen to the Word of God. cf. Jay Adams,
A Consumer's Guide to Preaching: How to Get the Most Out of a Sermon (Victor Books, 1991); Mortimer J. Adler,
How to Speak, How to Listen (Collier Books, 1983). It's been pointed out that in Biblical times they had better-trained memories than we have today and were able to keep the whole of the book in mind in perhaps only a few readings! cf. David L. Barr,
The Apocalypse of John as Oral Enactment, Int 40 no. 3 [July 1986]: 244). Eight times in Revelation are we admonished, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." cf. Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 13:9.
24. D. Edmond Hiebert, p. 233. The author quotes Smith concerning the difficulty of its study: "Because of its symbolism, its saturation with Old Testament passages and themes, the various schemes of interpretation that have developed concerning this book through the ages, the profundity and vastness of the subjects that are here unveiled, I believe that the Apocalypse, above every other book of the Bible, will yield its meaning only to those who give it prolonged and careful study." (p. 11) Although no OT passage is quoted, in the 404 passages of Revelation 275 of them contain allusions or references to OT teaching, symbols or themes.