PART I.

 

A General Survey of “The Day of the Lord”

 

  • John’s Vision of the Coming King

  •  Seven Letters Dictated by the King

  •  John is caught up to Heaven

  •  His Vision of a Seven-Sealed Roll

  • Six Seals Broken, Revealing:

(a)   A Saving Judgment Agent

(b)   Four Destructive Agents:

1. War

 2. famine

3.  pestilence

4.  wild beasts

(c)   The Martyrs Demand for Judgment

(d)   The Consummation of Judgment

 

The Four Destructive Agents Held in Check

 

            Until 144,000 Jews are sealed.

            These are protected from the Tribulation.

            This “fullness” of the Jews means

            A Resurrection of Christian Gentiles,

            “Out of the Great Tribulation
                         (not yet  begun)

                          

CHAPTER I

 

WHAT “THE REVELATION” MEANS

 

(Revelation 1:1)

 

 

            People often talk of the last book of the Bible as “Revelations.” However, the first thing to notice is that it is called The Revelation and tells about one great revelation.  Perhaps, you are puzzled because certainly many wonderful visions are described in it.  Here we must pause and examine the matter.

 

            Because the book gives an account of many visions which John saw, the natural conclusion is these visions are called “revelations,” which gives the name to the book.  If such were the case, then the book should have been called “The Revelations of an Angel,” not “The Revelation of St. John”—for an angel showed these visions. John simply wrote them down.

 

            Why could not John’s descriptions be called a “revelation”?  Someone, at least, thought they could, for he added a second title to the book.  How do we know it has two?  Because the first one reads, The Revelation of St. John the Divine; and we may be sure John would never have called himself “the divine.” It would have been very conceited, and John was the most humble and modest of men.  His own title begins Chapter 1 and reads:  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him.  John is not thinking what a wonderful thing it is to receive revelations or visions.  Like Paul, he would not have cared to boast of “visions and revelations.”  (II. Corinthians 12:1).  He had a far grander thought in mind, namely, that Jesus Christ would one day make a wonderful revelation of Himself to the world.  Some day, perhaps quite soon now, Jesus Christ is coming to this earth “in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”  (Mark 8:38).  At that time, God will say to those angels, “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”— (Jesus Christ, Hebrews 1:6).  This appearance of Jesus Christ on the earth as the King of kings and Lord of lords is John’s theme.  Jesus, through an angel, showed that second coming of Jesus in a series of wonderful visions; and John wrote them down in this book.

 

            When Jesus came to this earth the other time, He was born as a baby in Bethlehem.  He came to win us to love His Father and Himself, and then we would believe on Him and be saved. He came most cautiously so as not to frighten us.  We would be afraid of spirits or ghosts if they ever were to appear, which we do not really believe.  At any rate, we do not like the idea of seeing a ghost, which Jesus knew.  While He was in heaven, He was a spirit.  He knew if He came to earth in that form, He would either frighten people away from Him altogether, or else they would be so filled with curiosity at His strange appearance wherever He went.  He also knew they would be so eager to ask all manner of questions, He would not have much opportunity to teach them anything useful.  They would only want to investigate what a spirit was like.

 

            And besides, He was most holy.  The Bible says, “Without holiness no one shall see the Lord,” so He could not come to them in spirit form.  He must be made over as a man.  He was coming “to seek and to save that which is lost,” even the most wicked of them.  Therefore, He must lay aside all the grandeur of His holy, divine appearance to come among sinners and get them acquainted with Him.

 

            He came in such a way as to get close to them all before they knew who He really was.  He came just as every other human being has come into the world.  He was born of a human mother.  Besides the shepherds and wise men and a few others who saw Him at Bethlehem, the first that knew of Him were the neighbors that said a little baby had come to the sweet, young woman of Nazareth—Mary.  Who could be afraid of a baby?  We laugh at the idea.  Next, He was a little boy, playing on the street of Nazareth.  Who would run away scared of a little boy?  Next, they knew Him as the carpenter’s boy, learning his trade at the bench.  No one was afraid of the boy who came to do odd jobs about the house to mend a door hinge or a table leg.  I am sure the children loved to have Him come because He would allow them to gather close around and ask all kinds of questions about His curious tools.  He would never once say, “Now run away, and don’t bother Me.”  One reason for this assumption would be because the children would never feel like troubling Him.  Somehow they would feel that they must treat Him with real respect.

 

            Like no one else, doubtless He was able to make the children happy; and at the same time not get fretted by their eager questions and bothered into making mistakes in the work.  His work would be finished very promptly, and He would be off to the next job, perhaps at the next house.    

 

            When He had grown to young manhood, nobody was afraid of Him, for the people of Nazareth had known Him all His lifetime.  He looked like quite an ordinary young man except for His very pure, innocent, loving face, even though he shabbily dressed, we think.  Though they had always known Him, the rich and proud young men hardly spoke to Him on the Sabbath when He came to the synagogue if He was not able to dress well.  Perhaps some of the fine folks, who often talked “business” with Him, snubbed Him when they met Him on the street.  All of them would have laughed at the idea of being afraid of a poor, humble young man like Jesus of Nazareth.  However, He came especially for the poor who knew and loved Him. Not that He wished to slight the rich, but they would slight Him.  Not for Himself would He mind but only for their sakes.

            You can see quite clearly that since He was the Son of God, by far He was the greatest man that ever lived.  Because He was God at the same time He was man, He was a Mighty Being in disguise.  He was God veiled in human flesh.  Not that He wished to deceive anyone; for just as soon as He became well enough acquainted with anyone to induce that person to believe on Him, He made His real self known.  He said He was the Messiah or the Son of God.  You will remember when He first met the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well (John 4:25, 26), He told her precisely who He was.  He had to take this course in order to get well acquainted with sinners to teach them that He and God the Father loved them in spite of their wrongdoing.  Otherwise, they would have felt shy with one so holy.

 

            As you well know in the end despite of all His loving wishes, the rulers of the Jews turned against Him because He rebuked the sins of the hypocrites among them, which caused Him to be arrested and condemned.  The Roman soldiers abused Him most shamefully and crucified Him as the Jewish rulers wanted them to do.  The righteous wrath of God was so stirred that within a few years, Jerusalem suffered the most dreadful punishment.  The Jews had cried, “His blood be upon us and upon our children,” and God let it come to pass.  After the Jews suffered most frightfully during the siege of Jerusalem, those who lived through the destruction of the city were scattered all over the earth.  Almost simultaneously, God sent this word to earth by His Holy Spirit through His servant Paul and recorded in Philippians 2:10-11.

 

            “God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name that is above

           every name:  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

            of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the

            earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ

            is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

 

            Since wicked men had so shamefully treated in human courts the holy Son of God as though He were a common fraud and criminal, God declared in the above Scripture His intention to restore Christ’s good name and to seat Him on a throne as the Ruler of this entire earth.  Every human being in the world would honor Him as king even though up to this time, only a few of millions on this earth acknowledged or believed in Him.  It will all be different some day.  He will come to this earth surrounded by all the holy angels, who at God’s command will worship Him.  Hebrews 1:6 says, “When He {God} again (1) bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him.”  Then, will all human beings, too, worship the Son.  In this manner will God give glory and honor to Jesus Christ as He now has in heaven and as He had before He came into this world.

 

            Therefore, we know that when Jesus comes again to earth, as He certainly will, He will not come in disguise as the first time.  He will not come alone, either.  He came alone as a helpless baby the first time.  He went back to heaven in a cloud, we are told (Acts 1:9) in the presence of probably over five hundred people (I. Corinthians 15:6).  I believe what looked like a “cloud” was really a band of white-robed angels of which two came out of that cloud down to earth and said to the people:  “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.”  (Acts 1:11). 

 

            Jesus will, then, some day come down to this earth openly out of the sky and attended by a great band of worshiping angels.  What a magnificent spectacle this will be for all those who love Him!  And what a revelation it will be to all those who have never believed He ever lived or that He would ever come back again to earth!  John says, “Behold He cometh with clouds {crowds of angels}, and every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him:  and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.”  (Revelation 1:7).  This reference shows that Revelation which gives the title to John’s book.  John says again:  “The kings of the earth, and the great and rich, the rulers and the mighty men, and every slave and every free man {shall hide} themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains:  and say to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.”  (Revelation 6:15, 16).  This passage describes what the

Revelation of Jesus Christ coming again will be to the wicked—infidels, scoffers, immoral men, blasphemers, murderers, and such, who have cursed His sacred name, be they kings, common men, or slaves.  They have never believed they would be punished for their sins, but one day Christ will come suddenly and punish them sorely for their disobedience.  Of course, Christians will not be frightened.  This truth is THE REVELATION John is going to tell us about, the greatest revelation this earth will ever see.

 

            God promised to give Jesus Christ “a name which is above every name.”  What is promised and prophesied in the Bible is often spoken of as though past, for with God, no such thing as time exists.  We will find many things spoken of as though already past which are yet to come in The Revelation as we go on studying the book.   Right here, John calls this The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him (2) though it has not yet come to pass.  But what God promises is as good as done.

 

            Some people call the book by its Greek name, The Apocalypse, which means “the unveiling” or “the appearing.” This Greek word is often used in the New Testament of Christ’s second coming.  For instance, where we read in our  full stop (period) after “Him” in the punctuation of this verse.  On the word “gave,” read also John 17:24; Psalm 2:8; Philippians 2:9.  English Bible, “When the Lord shall be revealed from heaven,” the Greek says, “At the apocalypse from heaven.”  (II. Thessalonians 1:7.  The same word is used in I. Corinthians 1:7; I. Peter 1:7; 4:13 and elsewhere of the Lord’s second coming.

 

NOTES___________________

1.  This word is in its proper order—see RV. 

2  There should be a full stop (period) after “him” in punctuation of this verse.  on the word “gave,” read also John 17:24; Palm 2;8; Philippians 2:9.

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