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Lesson 1






        A. Written by John, the son of Zebedee.

                1. External evidence-- authorship verified by Justin Martyr (A.D. 140-160) and Irenaeus, pupil of Polycarp (elder of

                    Smyrna):  Irenaeus wrote within seventy or eighty years of the writing of Revelation.

                2. Internal evidence--although the Greek style is somewhat different from the Gospel of John, the references to Christ are

                    similar (John 17:7-8; 5:19-20; 7:16 compared with Rev 1:1; John 1:1; 14; I John 1:1 compared with Rev 19:13; and

                    John 19:34 compared with Rev 1:7).

        B. Written during John's exile on Patmos in the time of Domitian's rule, about A.D. 95

                1. External evidence-- Irenaeus, Origin, Victorious, Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria, Hegesippus, and Jerome are

                    early Christian writers who shared this opinion. 

                2. Internal evidences

                        a. The conditions of the seven churches of Asia requires some time for their development (Gnostic heresies of

                            chapters 2 & 3 required a later date than A.D. 70). 

                        b. The persecution of Christians because of  enforcing emperor worship fits the reign of Domitian (chapter 13). 

                            Domitian raised himself above other gods and addressed himself as "our Lord and God" according to the ]

                            historian Suetonius.



        A. Determine the meaning of the message for the seven churches of Asia, (Historical Background). For example, notice that

             the seven churches are specifically addressed (1:1-4) and that each one is individually addressed with particular emphasis

             (chapters 2 & 3).

        B. Remember the visions of Daniel relative to the Roman Empire and the Kingdom of God. For example, Daniel spoke of the

             image of the four kingdoms and identified the Roman Empire as the fourth kingdom symbolized by the feet of clay mixed

             with iron (Daniel 2:31-45).

        C. Compare the visions of Revelation with similar visions from the Scriptures.  For example, the vision of the two olive trees

             in Zechariah (4:6,11-14) is very similar to that of the two witnesses in Rev. 11.

        D. Try to see the principles involved in the conflicts portrayed in Revelation.  For example, the warfare between Satan and

             God (Rev. 12) is understood by Paul's description of spiritual warfare which is not physically accomplished

             (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

        E. Try to see God's purpose for the things revealed.  For example, God's purpose was to comfort persecuted saints by

             promising that they would rest from their labors (Rev. 14:12-13).

        F. Use easily understood scriptures to understand difficult passages.  For example, the sword that proceeds from the mouth

             of Christ (Rev. 1:16; 19:15) is obviously the word of God (Heb. 4:12-13)

        G. Keep an open mind and do not try to fit everything into you own view; accept the obvious meaning within the context

             of the book.  For example, the Nicolaitans (Rev. 2:6) were known to the Ephesians and we can know from history that

             they were a heretical group. 

        H. Keep things simple.  For example, the foundation stones of Rev. 21:19-20 can be simply understood to represent God's

             glory and our preciousness to Him.



        A. Was written during a time of great persecution.

                1. Needed to reveal truth to a select audience while remaining hidden to the persecutors.

                2. Requires background knowledge in order to understand.

        B. Uses visions to reveal and predict.

                1. Old Testament examples are Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Joel.

                2. Non canonical Apocalypses include The Book of Enoch, The Assumption of Moses, The Secrets of Enoch, The

                    Book of Baruch, and the book of IV Ezra.

        C. Uses numbers to represent concepts: 1=unity; 2=strength; 3=divine, godly; 4=earthly, worldly; 5 & 10=complete, whole;

             6=imperfect, evil; 7=perfect, holy; 12=godly order, design.

        D. Uses obvious dramatic impact to give power to the message.

                1.  Blood from the winepress in Rev 14:20

                2.  Sword from the mouth of Christ in Rev 1:16 and 19:15.

                3.  The harlot as Rome in Rev 17.

        E. Uses Old Testament terminology with New Testament meaning (two witnesses of chapter 11).

        F. Uses the overall impact of the vision instead of the minute details to convey the message. (6:12-17 - From the seven bowls

            of wrath we can understand that it is impossible to hide from God's wrath).

        G. Addresses the imagination with pictures to encourage us to see with our mind.  For example, the vivid description of the

             beast rising from the sea (Rev. 13:1-4) impacts our imagination.



        A. We should not use our study of Revelation to create confusion or teach our own theories.  For example, the historical

             sequence theory of Revelation makes the man-child (Rev. 12) someone other than Christ.

        B. Always use the things that are easily understood to help with the difficult.  For example, God's theme in Revelation is that

             we be faithful until death (2:10) even if we do not understand all the details within the book.

        C. Never build a mysterious theory that conflicts with the plain teaching of the Bible.  For example, we should not use the

             language of Rev. 20:6 to build an elaborate theory of an earthly reign of Christ in conflict with the plain teachings of the

             scriptures (John 18:36; Luke 17:20-21).

        D. Remember the blessings for those who study revelation: Rev 1:3; 14:3; 16:5; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14.




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