by Tad Lindley
Have you ever read the Book of the Revelation? If you haven’t, you are missing a blessing. The Bible even promises a blessing to us if we read the Revelation. Blessed is he 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. (Revelation 1:3) Turn to the back of your Bible, and there you will find this 22 chapter book that blesses.
Who wrote the Revelation?
You will remember that Jesus had a disciple named John. That disciple when he was an elder was jailed for being a Christian. He was on the island of Patmos. That much we know from the Bible. Prison back then didn’t have television and a basketball court. This was pre-Rodney King. Historical sources indicated that on Patmos, prisoners were forced to mine for salt. They were chained to a cave, and were only fed if they mined salt from the cave. It was a dismal existence, and that is where John found himself. It was here that he received from God the things that are recorded in the Revelation.
Another Saturday on Patmos
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day… (Revelation 1:10) Presumably it was Saturday when John received the Revelation, as the Sabbath, our modern Saturday, was the Lord’s day of rest. John must have been in prayer to God, and the Lord took him up and showed him things concerning both his present time and the far distant future. One of the most exciting things about the Revelation is that it speaks about the end of time, which is very near.
The Revelation of Jesus
If it was never clear to us before that Jesus is God, not one third of God, not Jehovah Jr., but fully God, it is made very clear in Revelation 1. Twice in this chapter, Jesus describes himself as the “first and the last”. In doing so he is revealing himself as the God of Isaiah 41:4 and 48:12.
Jesus then goes directly into dictating to John messages for the seven churches. Chapters 2 and 3 contain these letters. In one letter, Jesus threatens to projectile vomit the church out of his mouth (3:16). Although these churches existed almost 2,000 years ago, the concerns and the call for repentance are just as relevant to us today as they were then.
The seven seals are not nayiq, issuriq, maklaar, etc. In the days before tape, wax was melted and dripped onto a scroll to seal it shut. This wax is called sealing wax.At the beginning of chapter 4, John is summoned up into heaven, where he witnesses the throne of God and the beings in heaven. In chapter 5, John sees a book or a scroll that is sealed with seven seals. As the seals are open one by one in chapter 6, John describes the events that occur on the earth; none of them are good, except for the seventh seal which cryptically tells us that there is silence in heaven about the space of half an hour (8:1).
Keep in mind that the Revelation may not be organized chronologically, so there may be overlap between some of the seals, trumpets, and vials. The trumpets found in chapters 8 and 9 detail events that may have already happened or may be happening in the near future. The sixth trumpet tells of a 200 million man army and a war that kills one third of the inhabitants of the earth (9:13-21). Obviously this has not happened yet, but for the first time in human history we live in a time where a single nation, China, could field a 200 million man army.
Seven thunders: top secret
One of the great mysteries of Revelation lies in chapter 10. John hear the voice of the seven thunders, and immediately prepares to write down what he has heard. Unfortunately for the curious among us, he is allowed only to tell us that he heard some top secret things, but can’t reveal them to us.
2 witnesses, 2 wars, 2 beasts
Chapters 11 tells us about two witness who will live on earth in the last days and be killed in Jerusalem. Their bodies will lie in the street for three and a half days and then they will be resurrected while all the world watches on television. (11:7-10) Chapter 12 details a war in heaven (evil angels vs. good) and a war on earth (Satan against the church and Israel) and the rescue of Israel by another nation, which up until the Obama administration I was thinking would be the United States. And then Chapter 13 covers the two beasts, the first being the anti-Christ who is more thoroughly described in Daniel 7, and the second being the false prophet.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.