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by Rhoderick D. Ice
INTRODUCTION TO REVELATION
It is 96 A.D., the church is in what seems to be a “death-struggle” with the forces of evil, and the Christians seem to be losing! But things are not always what they seem to be outwardly. “Write, then, the things you see, both the things that are now, and the things that will happen afterward” (Revelation 1:19).
To understand this book, we must first begin at the fact that it was intended for the believers in John’s day and age (Revelation 1:1-3). It is God’s answer to the prayers and tears of severely persecuted Christians who were scattered through the cities of Asia Minor. It must be studied in the light of the conditions that existed in the last ten years of the First Century A.D. It shows Jesus as the EXPEDITER (one who puts into effect an order or decree in the shortest possible time) of God’s Plan (Revelation 5:0). The Trumpets of chapter 9 answer the question: “How can a loving God allow pain and suffering?” To the Christian who suffers pain, this is a Seal (compare Revelation 7:2-3 note); but to the unbeliever, this pain and suffering is a Trumpet of warning!
The theme of this book is stated very well in the words of Revelation 17:14. “They will fight against the Lamb; but the Lamb, and his called, chosen, and faithful followers with him, will defeat them, for he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.”
Chapters 1 Timothy 3:0; 1 Timothy 3:01 Timothy 3:0 form the basic foundation of this entire book. Revelation is made up of “picture-symbols,” which, like “modern art,” are intended to express an idea. Each of these picture-symbols presents one central idea.
It seems normal to us to write an account by “beginning at the beginning, going on to the end, and then stopping.” But there are other ways of looking at things. The Jewish mind often arranged things according to their importance, rather than by the order in which they happened. And sometimes they would record one event out of sequence just because it seemed to them worthy of stress. Still another method is to work like a farmer plowing his field: make one pass across the field, go back, move over slightly, and make another pass, and continue until the whole field has been covered.
Revelation uses this third method. We find seven (the Divine number) parallel sections in the book. All sections begin with the First Coming of Christ, and all continue to, or past, the Second Coming.
The Church in the World. chapters 1–3.
Trial and Persecution of the Church. chapters 4–7.
The Church VICTORIOUS! chapters 8–11.
Christ versus the Dragon. chapters 12–14.
Christ’s final wrath. chapters 15–16.
The fall of Babylon. chapters 15–16, 17–19.
(2 Peter 3:13)
Christ and his Church VICTORIOUS! chapters 20–22.
INTO ETERNITY FOREVER!
In Revelation, the curtain of both the present and the future is lifted, so that we may know what is being worked out here and now, and the GUARANTEED CERTAINTY that those who win the victory through faith, will receive everything God has promised them!
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25