The Book of Revelation Study 2:

The Book of Revelation Study 2:

[] What is its main emphasis?

Though many ‘kings’ will support the evil empire of Nero against ‘the Lamb, he will defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings’ (17:12-14; 19:16, New Living Translation unless otherwise indicated), ‘King of the nations’ (or ‘King of the ages’ 15:3 margin), the ruler of all the kings of the world’ (1:5). These ‘kings of the earth’ will try to hide unsuccessfully in caves from the wrath of the Lamb (6:15-16). John under Nero is suffering for ‘the kingdom … that is ours in Jesus’ (1:9, New International Version). John and every other individual believer who ‘overcomes’ the onslaughts of Satan’s evil empire will sit with Jesus on his ‘throne’ (see 3:21) and rule … the nations … with an iron sceptre’ (2:26-27 NIV). The message of John is obvious: see 1 John 5:3-5 = overcoming the world.

‘Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. For every child of God defeats this evil world and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God’.

[] What is the shape of this book?

[A] Introduction (chapter 1)

to the situation, the writer and the ‘Revealer’ himself

[B] Scene 1 – moral judgement on the seven churches (chapters 2 and 3)

[C] Scenes 2 and 3 – historic judgement on Jerusalem (chapter 4 – 11)

– the religious persecutor of the churches

[D] Scenes 4, 5 and 6 – historic judgement on Rome (chapter 12 – 19)

– the political persecutor of the churches

{E] Scene 7 – final judgement on Satan and all his allies (chapter 20)

– the spiritual inspiration of the persecution

and the final judgement issuing in new heavens and earth (21:1 – 22:5)

[F] Conclusion (22:6-21)


– reverting to the historic standpoint of the book’s introduction.

* A sevenfold structure

Every one of the seven main sections of the book of Revelation starts in New Testament times, but extends to the end of history. John uses the standard technique of the Old Testament prophets who always depicted the overthrow of an empire in ultimate terms as ‘the day of the Lord’, whether it was Edom, Egypt, Babylon or Samaria. John repeated this pattern regarding the fall of Jerusalem and also of Rome.

[] Review of the seven scenes of Revelation.

Prologue (1:1-8)

Scene 1: the seven churches (1:9 – 3:22)

starts with the prophet being caught up in the Spirit into the heavenlies and encountering the risen and glorified Christ

– each letter ends with promises to be fulfilled when Jesus returns (‘Whoever is victorious’ cf. 20:7).

Scene 2: the seven-sealed scroll (4:1 – 7:17)

  • begins with John entering heaven afresh by an open door;
  • proceeds to the ascension of Jesus (chapter 5);
  • ends with the heavenly bliss of all ‘who came out of the great tribulation’ (7:9-17, margin)

Scene 3: the seven trumpets (8:1 – 11:18)

  • commences with the opening of the seventh seal, then John’s being taken to heaven’s golden altar;
  • finishes with the overthrow of Jerusalem (11:13) and ‘the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever’ 11:15-18 NIV).

Scene 4: the seven-headed beast (11:19 – 14:20)

  • starts when heaven again is opened to John and an overture of thunder and lightning, earthquake and hail is seen and heard;
  • Christ is established on the throne (12:5), triggering off persecution by the Empire (chapter 13);
  • It ends with the harvest of the earth (14:14-20).

Scene 5: the seven bowls of wrath (chapters 15 -16)

  • the curtain rises on the martyrs praising in an open heaven (15:1-5) out of which the bowls of wrath are poured out on the earth;
  • and ends at Armageddon and the coming of the Lord (16:14-15).

Scene 6: the seven-hill city (chapters 17 – 19)

  • once more John is caught up in the Spirit (17:3)
  • after seeing the overthrow of Rome (chapters 17 – 18)
  • he is shown the climax‘the marriage supper of the Lamb’ and the birds of prey feasting on the remains of the kings who followed the beast, slain by the sword of the King of kings (chapter 19).

Scene 7: the seven angels’ presentation of the Lamb’s wife (20:1 – 22:5)

  • covers the period from the (historic) binding of Satan to the days of Gog and Magog and the great white throne judgement of all mankind (chapter 20);
  • to the subsequent new heavens and earth (21:1 – 22:5).

Epilogue (22:6-21)

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