Tuesday, June 22, 2021

1. Introduction to a New Study: The Book of Revelation

Today, we begin a new months-long study of the book of Revelation. I am excited to share this journey with you because I am at a point in my life when I have finally grappled with the Bible's view of eschatology (the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, and the final destiny of the soul and of humankind) and how it is revealed in places like Daniel, Ezekiel, Matthew 24-25, and The Revelation. After spending some years fleshing out what the Bible says about Theology Proper (doctrine of God), Bibliology (the doctrine of the Bible),  Soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), ecclesiology (the doctrine of the Church), and other core doctrines, I finally began to grapple with this doctrinal loci and what I have found is crucial and important for Christians to understand. The late British prime minister Winston Churchill once described the former Soviet Union as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” Many Christians view the book of Revelation in much the same way. Bewildered by its mystifying symbolism and striking imagery, many believers and church leaders avoid serious study of the book. Such shortsightedness deprives believers of the blessings the book promises to those who diligently read it (1:3; 22:7).

Those who ignore Revelation miss out on a rich treasure of divine truth. Revelation takes a high view of God’s inspired Word. It claims divine inspiration for itself (1:2), and 278 of its 404 verses allude to the Old Testament Scriptures. Revelation reveals God the Father in all His glory and majesty, describing Him as: holy (4:8), true (6:10), omnipotent (4:11), wise (7:12), sovereign (4:11), eternal (4:10)

Revelation also details the depths of man’s sinfulness. Despite experiencing the final outpouring of God’s devastating judgment on unbelieving humanity, people will nevertheless harden their hearts and refuse to repent. Scripture contains no clearer summary of redemption than Revelation 1:5: “Jesus Christ … loves us and released us from our sins by His blood.”

Some who study Revelation primarily seek evidence to support their own views regarding the end times. However, Revelation teaches much more than prophecy. While the book is a rich source of truth about the end times, Revelation also portrays Christ’s ultimate victory over Satan, depicts the final political setup of the world, and describes the career of the final Antichrist. It also discusses the rapture of the church (3:10) and the seven-year time of tribulation. It explains the three and one-half years of the great tribulation (7:14), the second coming of Christ, the climactic battle of Armageddon, the thousand-year earthly kingdom of Jesus Christ, the final great white throne judgment, the final state of the unbelievers in hell (the lake of fire), and the redeemed in the new heaven and new earth.

But the book of Revelation is preeminently “the “Revelation of Jesus Christ” (1:1). Revelation also affirms the full deity of Jesus Christ. He possesses the attributes of God, including sovereignty (1:5), eternity (1:17–18), and the right to judge who lives and who dies (1:18; 2:23). He also receives worship (5:13) and rules from God’s throne (22:1, 3). Revelation affirms His equality of essence with God the Father by applying Old Testament passages that describe God to Jesus Christ.

I hope you will join with me in this interesting study and an imminently important book of the Bible - the last book - The Revelation. I can assure it will be a fascinating and revealing journey into the heart of Christ, the Sovereignty of God, and the future of planet Earth and its peoples.