Introduction to the Book of Revelation
1:1 says "…he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." "Signified" is the Greek word "Semaino" meaning to give a sign or to express or reveal by signs. God in his infinite wisdom has chosen to use the language of symbolism and imagery to communicate this Revelation.
How can we unlock the symbolism of this book? Mainly by comparing scripture with scripture (2 Peter 1:20) do we understand its symbolism. This Revelation is profoundly positioned as the last book of the Bible. It not only contains prophecy of last things, but it is in its nature a climax to all Biblical revelation. We in part find understanding of the symbolism in Revelation by understanding previously given symbolism. Some examples include: 1) The Four Living Creatures Ezekiel 1:5; Revelation 4:6 2) The 7 Churches of Asia were both literal and symbolic. As the New Testament Epistles were relevant to a first century Church so they are still relevant today. 3) Water of Life John 4:14; Revelation 21:6 This Revelation with all its symbolism was given to John by God's "angel". John himself was puzzled as to the role of this "angel" and eventually falls at his feet in 22:8 to worship him. In verse 9, the angel rebuked him saying he was only a "fellow servant" and that John must only "worship God". The Believer must keep in constant remembrance amidst all the majesty of God's Grace that all the glory belongs to God and we are just "His messengers".
The Scribe of this Book (1:2)
Revelation 1:1 …unto His servant John 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
The Apostle John
He bare record (1:2; John 1:1-14)
He gave witness (I John 1:1-3; 20:31)
The Value of this Book (1:3)
It is rewarding
"Blessed" - happy, spiritually prosperous, one to be envied
"He that readeth"
"They that hear the words"
"And keep those things which are written"
It is enlightening (22:10)
Revelation 22:10--Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.
The Premise of this Book(1:4-9)
We will search out the source, subject, substance and circumstances of the book of Revelation.
The Sources of this Revelation (1:4,5)
He is the writer - the Scribe
"Which is, which was, and which is to come."
"From the seven Spirits which are before His throne;"
SEVEN: "Hepta" - signifying to be full - "Pneuma" "Spirit" . Therefore, meaning: a "Seven-fold spirit". God is described here in the fullness of His office and powers.
"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth."
The Subjects of this Revelation
"To the Seven Churches in Asia" v. 4 not church but "churches".
Their location (Asia) - v. 4
Their need - v. 7
Each church had unique needs and problems so a special message is addressed to each of the seven Churches in Asia (Ephesus - Smyrna - Pergamos - etc.)
The Substance of this Revelation
Grace - v 4 G-R-A-C-E: God's Riches At Christ's Expense
Peace - v. 4 Peace from God brings peace with God. Peace with God brings peace with man.
Consolation - v. 7 "Behold He cometh"
Confirmation - v. 8 He will keep His word with you.
The Circumstances of this Revelation v.9
Common Brotherhood - "your brother"
Common Suffering - "companion in tribulation"
Common Royalty - "in the kingdom"
Common Promise - "patience of Jesus Christ"
Common Place - "Patmos-a place of exile"
The Isle of Patmos was a place of EXILE with barren rocks that was located in the open sea. It was in this unfriendly place the awesome revelation was written.