Recently I was speaking with a young friend of mine concerning the state of his local church.
Why is this prophetic panorama of Jesus’ victorious return so neglected, feared, and ignored by His church? Studying The Revelation is vital because it shapes how we view heaven, how we see ourselves in light of the rewards it offers for those who are faithful witnesses, and most importantly it reveals Jesus as King, Bridegroom, and Judge. The Revelation is the only book in the bible that includes a special blessing upon those who read and those who hear the words of the prophecy. I believe that fear is the primary hindrance to receiving the blessings that God wants to give us through this book. I always tell those who want to understand The Revelation to begin by getting the big picture in each chapter. I want to address this notion that the book is so difficult to understand that no one can correctly interpret it. Before leaving the subject of fearfulness, it must be pointed out that faithful shepherds over God’s house must make the effort to learn the message of The Revelation and teach it to their flocks. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. The first five chapters alone are a divine gold mine of information about the nature of the resurrected Son of Man, the indescribable beauty of the throne room of Heaven, and the worthiness of Jesus to take over the government of the earth.
I believe that a fourth reason The Revelation is avoided by many in the Western church is that its message conflicts with deeply entrenched mindsets held by most Christians. Revelation has always been a book we understandably hesitate to study, considering that the book was “signified” (Rev. We mustn’t forget that Revelation is Scripture “breathed out by God” which is “profitable for teaching…and for training in righteousness” so that we “may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim.
I have always wished that I could have been with the apostle John when he saw “a door standing open in heaven” and heard the voice “like a trumpet” telling him, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this” (Rev.
The “twenty-four elders” who are seated on the “twenty-four thrones” around God’s throne (Rev. The “flashes of lightning, and rumblings, and peals of thunder” coming from the throne no doubt reminded John that he was in the presence of God (Rev.
John then saw that “the twenty-four elders” joined with “the four living creatures” in offering worship to “him who lives forever and ever” and ascribing “glory and honor and power” to him because he “created all things” (Rev.
I am always edified when I read of the “scroll written within and on the back” in “the right hand of him who was seated on the throne” (Rev. This is especially brought home to me when I read of how John wept loudly when it seemed no one would be able to open the scroll (Rev. John then saw Jesus, “a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain.”  He stood among the elders between God’s throne and “the four living creatures” (Rev.
Once you understand that Revelation was written in the mid 60s AD, and that it contains a message entirely relevant for its original audience, it becomes a far easier book to understand.
To understand Revelation we need to apply the same principles of Biblical interpretation that we apply to any other book of the Bible. By following these 'rules' of interpretation we can learn that the Book of Revelation was about events to occur immediately to its original audience. Much damage to the credibility of the Bible has nearly been done by those who twist the contents of the Book of Revelation to force it to sound like it refers to the events of our present day. Regarded as one of the leading exponents of the Book of Revelation, Dr Andrew Corbett in this 4 Part series on the Book of Revelation (presented as a seminar) is now available as a 4 Audio CD set. Order this 4 Disc Audio CD for a donation (recommended price is $20 plus shipping) of any amount for a limited time. Firstly, it can be shown that the Book of Revelation was written to a Turkish audience around 65AD who had the immediate potential of actually understanding it! Revelation 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. History verifies this claim (that the contents of the Book of Revelation were written to an audience around 65AD who most likely recognised its message and meaning). Secondly, nearly all Bible prophecy teachers make certain assumptions about the Book of Revelation which can be shown to be either inaccurate or even false. Revelation 17:12-13 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast.
In the early days of the European Union, many of these Bible Prophecy Experts pointed to the initial coalition of 10 European nations as the fulfilment of this alleged prediction of a One World Government.
In my eBook, THE MOST EMBARRASSING BOOK IN THE BIBLE, I present the case for the Book of Revelation being written to an audience around 65AD where its contents were immediately relevant.
Revelation 17:10-11 they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. Revelation 17:12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. But upon a little examination, the apparent confusion over numbers because amazingly deliberate. Revelation 13:3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. During this period of civil unrest in the Roman Empire, it probably did seem that the Empire was going to die. Revelation 17:16 And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute.
I have written a fuller explanation of the book of Revelation in my eBook- THE MOST EMBARRASSING BOOK IN THE BIBLE (click here to read a preview).
Dr Corbett introduces the Book of Revelation by showing that despite the massive amount of speculation regarding its contents, there are some basic principles of hermeneutics (Bible interpretation) which are used for every other book of the Bible which can not be discarded when it comes to understanding Revelation. This, and other such issues, is dealt with more fully in my downloadable ebook on the Book of Revelation- The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible. He told me that he was frustrated with the lukewarm spiritual atmosphere of the church, including the youth group. I have found that there is often a direct correlation between the health of a local church and the level of focus that is placed on The Revelation. Although we may not fully understand all the details of this weighty book, it is relatively easy to get the main message from each chapter. God is not the author of confusion; He did not send this book to us so that we could argue about a dozen different interpretations and then walk away frustrated. Anything less is an irresponsible breach of our duty and we will have to give an account to God for the omission. It is not the unveiling of the antichrist, the unveiling of the rapture, or the unveiling of all the other sub-topics that frequently take front and center when this prophecy is discussed. Chapters two and three tell us what is important to Jesus concerning the church and the eternal rewards that are promised to those who overcome.
For example, The Revelation clearly and unambiguously teaches that Jesus is returning to earth to establish a 1000 year kingdom, and that at the end of this kingdom the current heaven and earth will be purged with fire, revealing a new heaven and a new earth. In my experience a great many Christians believe this, and yet The Revelation (and many other important end time prophecies such as Daniel’s vision of the seventy weeks) makes it clear that it is not possible for Jesus to return until specific key events take place.
You would think that what Jesus, the Head of the Church, thinks about church would be of the highest importance to every pastor and leader.
The Western church knows very little of either of these, and in her immaturity she bristles at anything that sounds negative.

It is only by going deep in this book that we have a true understanding of the nature of Jesus, Who unveils Himself to be far more than just our savior.
Far from being an esoteric and impractical book filled with unknowable symbols, The Revelation is a call to whole-heartedness, love, prayer, and martyrdom. 4:4) also remind me of the covenants God has made with man, specifically the old covenant made with the twelve tribes of Israel (Deut. 4:6) reminds me that Scripture at times uses the symbolism of “the sea” to describe multitudes of people (Rev. 5:1) and how the only One able and worthy to open it would be the “Lamb of God,” Jesus Christ (Rev. 4-5 with the rest of Scripture as my primary guide to interpreting its symbolism, I am always encouraged, corrected, and reminded of all that my Lord has done for me.  May John’s testimony of what he saw in that open door of heaven continue to remind us all of what our Savior has done for us, and what we must do for him! When we abandon our preconceived notions that this book is about the 21st century and accept its plain statements about when it is referring to, we can see more clearly what it was trying to say to its original audience. Firstly, we allow the (circles of) context to be the primary interpretation of a text (this includes the context of Scripture's overall message, the context of the particular covenant, the context of the original audience's language and culture, the context of the particular book and finally, the context of the particular passage). Time and time again, so called Bible-Prophecy teachers have been left with egg on their faces as their ridiculous speculations have proved to be completely wrong. But still the sillyness continues to be rolled out by many TBN preachers who (even inadvertently) misrepresent the Book of Revelation by claiming that it is written to us about our day.
This is because the first 19 chapters deal with the impending judgment upon Jerusalem and the end of the Temple Age. The problem with this assumption is that term "Anti-Christ" does not even occur in the Book of Revelation!
This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.
I have received many emails from people warning me that this is the beginning of Revelation 13 about to be fulfilled. But then as the European Union grew to encompass much more than its initial 10 nations, these same Bible Prophecy Experts retreated into more nonsensical speculation.
As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction.
It was Nero who was reigning at the time of the writing of the Book of Revelation (see my article on Dating the Authorship of the Book of Revelation).
After Nero died, he was succeeded by Galba who reigned for 6 months and a week until he was murdered by the Praetorian Guard. But being unprepared to relinquish the idea that the Book of Revelation is written to us about our near future, they invent a new way of reading Scripture called Parallelism or Double Referencing. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. The application from the Book of Revelation is that despite what appears to be an impotent Church struggling to serve an apparently impotent Christ, the Church is in reality made up of overcomers who lay down their lives gladly to promote Christ and His Gospel. It is my mission to help reverse Biblical illiteracy rates and produce resources to help readers understand what they are reading and how to correctly interpret the Scriptures. For instance, you may not understand who the 24 elders are in chapters four and five, but you can know they are important figures who show us an example of whole-hearted worship that we can model in our own worship.
I would suggest that most of the difficulty lies in the practice of coming to The Revelation with preconceived ideas about the end times, and then trying to make the book fit our view. We must gain a thorough understanding of the end time prophecies and instruct the church to prepare and to live whole-heartedly in light of them. He hates the fact that Jesus was resurrected from the dead and is returning to forcibly take back the earth from satanic possession.
Many who have kept their distance from The Revelation think that it is primarily about plagues, the antichrist, and strange symbols like horns and creatures full of eyes.
The power of this book to change the lives of those who read and live its message cannot be understated. The New Testament includes many warnings and admonitions that seldom get any mention in the modern church. It is only through the book of Revelation that we can have clarity on many important Old Testament end-time prophecies.
It contains the most glorious imagery of the epic battle for the nations of the earth and for Jerusalem that will take place at the end of this age, and it is the greatest anchor of hope during shaking and tribulation.
Secondly, we interpret the passage in light of how the original audience would have understood the passage based on what the original intention of the author was.
It is positively ludicrous to make these terms mean exactly opposite what they plainly state by suggesting that the contents of the Book of Revelation pertains to events two millennia after it was written. Our Administrator forwarded onto me a copy of an email we were sent claiming that our understanding of the Book of Revelation was wrong and that we would be humiliated by the Lord when the Rapture took place on October 17th 2009. The Jewish historian, Josephus, records the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple which took place in 70AD. This is the particular chapter of the Book of Revelation, they claim, which talks about the coming of an evil one-world government.
The bottom-line is that there is absolutely no mention, let alone a prediction, of a One World Government in the Book of Revelation!
That is, we should understand the Book of Revelation in the same way that we understand any other New Testament epistle.
Unable to stabilise the Empire, he was succeeded by Otho who reigned just 3 months until he committed suicide after losing a battle to another Roman General, Vitellius. This is the idea that the Book of Revelation has two fulfilments: the first - during the lifetime of its original audience, and the second - to be fulfilled during the lifetime of the last generation (which they claim is ours).
In so doing, the Kingdom of Christ is extended, prayers are offered and heard, miracles are graced, and the believer can die with infinite hope that their Lord will keep them for eternity and clothe them with a new body which can not be subject to pain, injury, sorrow, or sin.
I opened this article by saying that the issue of eschatology is secondary to how we read and interpret the Scriptures (Hermeneutics). Show me an on-fire believer who is filled with love for Jesus, and in almost every case there will be an excitement about understanding what scripture says about the end times, and with The Revelation in particular.
What we believe and understand about Jesus and the end-times is critical because it directly effects how we live now. I believe that there are several reasons for this attitude, and these hindrances must be corrected and overcome.
This is just one of dozens examples where we can be impacted in a powerful way by the main theme of a chapter without necessarily understanding all the details. I would further suggest that if you came to the book of Revelation having no knowledge whatsoever of prophecy or of end time doctrine, you would be able to read it and come away with an accurate overview of God’s plan for the end of the age. He hates that God has revealed His plan for His Son to return as King, and Satan hates that the nations will accept Jesus as Lord while he is imprisoned.
It is so important for the church to understand that this book is the unveiling of Jesus Christ!
Without The Revelation we really don’t fully understand who Jesus is, and we live life with a pre-resurrection image of Him. In His final direct communication to the churches in scripture, there is not one mention from the mouth of our Lord about church growth, facilities, budget, or programs. For example, The Revelation fills in enormous details concerning Daniel’s prophetic writings, including the foundational prophecy of the seventy weeks.
Reading, studying, and keeping the sayings of this book will change your life and fill you with new fascination for God and His beauty.

For example, when we read First Corinthians we know that it was written to an actual church in Corinth around 55AD.
A quick succession of would-be emperors claimed the throne but none was able to consolidate the Empire until Caesar Vespasian, a military general, returned from Spain. Caesar Vitellius reigned a mere 8 months until he was murdered by General Vespasian's troops.
With this knowledge we can endure momentary hardship during the brevity of this life on earth. That's why I've made my eBook- The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible available for an immediate download.
Begin talking about the end time prophecies in many churches and the tension is immediately noticeable. The Day of the Lord and Jesus’ 1000 year kingdom is one of the most emphasized subjects throughout the Old and New Testaments.
The time is too short, the peril is too desperate, and the rewards are too great for this wonderful unveiling of the returning King to be kept out of our churches any longer.
Worse yet, they are afraid of offending church members who may hold differing views than what is being taught. And God has promised that those who seek will find, so the more we endeavor to know this book, the more we will be shown. To put it another way, if you or I had never heard of a pre-tribulation rapture (as one example), I believe that we would read The Revelation and conclude with certainty that there is a time of great pressure ahead for all of God’s people. He hates that God blesses those who read and hear the prophecy and he especially hates the fire and passion that this book unleashes in the hearts of those who live by its message.
The four gospels reveal Him as the miracle-working servant-teacher who died for our sins and then rose from the dead. This will lead to living with a dull spirit now, and many being offended in Him when He doesn’t meet their expectations at His second coming. Jesus instructs disciples to strive to enter at the straight gait and avoid the wide path that leads to destruction.
The book of Revelation give us great hope by showing us electrifying glimpses of the victory of the Church during the tribulation, and of the glory of Jesus as He returns to judge the earth and establish His global government out of Jerusalem. Fourthly and finally, we do not interpret a Scripture in a way that it contradicts the overall message of Scripture. Interestingly, Revelation 17 almost sounds confusing because it appears to be very inconsistent when it numbers just how many kings are involved. We should keep to the principles of Bible interpretation that the Bible itself seems to provide which includes the idea that discovering the intended meaning of a passage should guide our interpretation of that passage. We can be assured that our greatest delights and deepest moments of fulfilment are yet to come in the life to come. Thousands of people around the world have now read this eBook and many have written to me thanking me and others for promoting a more sound method for reading and interpretting the Bible.
We cannot afford to take a passive approach to this topic with the idea that it will all just work out somehow; Jesus is looking for those with burning hearts to partner with Him in these pivotal times.
People are afraid of the symbols used in the book, although most of them are explained for us and the rest can be found throughout the Old Testament.
It is our bias and presuppositions which make The Revelation seem complicated; we insist on twisting the scripture to support what we think we already know and we end up with contradictions and arguments. But in the book of Revelation He is revealed as the glorious conquering king who is returning with the burning heart of a bridegroom to execute judgment on everything that hinders love.
Understanding who Jesus is and avoiding being offended in Him will be of major importance during the final decades of this age. They have an escapist, rather than a redemptive, mindset that contrasts sharply with the theme of Revelation. Through a right understanding of this book we can know that the rewards of suffering and even martyrdom are real and have eternal impact. 28:18), and when they fall down before God’s throne and cast their crowns before him I am reminded that the authority found in the old and new covenants comes from God (Rev. 5:6), which immediately brings to mind how the Holy Spirit-inspired Word of God is described as all-knowing (Heb. But because of God's canonical inspiration we know that First Corinthians was indeed written for us. So in this sense, Vespasian is both the seventh and also the eighth king referred to in Revelation 17. I encourage you to download this eBook and read for yourself an alternate view to End Times than the one presented by many of these pop-preachers.
When we take this book at face value for what it actually says, it is not confusing at all… just sobering. Hollywood churns out ridiculous perversions of this message while church leaders (and entire denominations) pretend that it doesn’t exist. Our churches are filled with lukewarm members who are fed irrelevant messages having little to do with their desperate spiritual condition. These and countless other themes are almost never preached in American churches because they are offensive to the flesh, the natural mind, and the American culture. Through the reading of this book and the keeping of its sayings, we qualify ourselves for God’s special blessing. 4:6), and observed that “day and night they never cease” to proclaim the holiness of God and give to him “glory and honor and thanks” (Rev. When we realise that the Book of Revelation contained very-near-future predictions which would impact its original audience, and this can now be substantiated from the historical records, it actually increases our confidence in the reliability and credibility of God's Word. But in a literal sense, Vespasian was the tenth king since after Nero (the 6th) came Galba (7th), then Otho (8th), then Vitellius (9th), then Vespasian (10th).
And it fits perfectly with what the entire Bible teaches about events at the end of the age. The Revelation conflicts profoundly with the comfortable Laodicean mindset that permeates the Western church and robs her of a vibrant and intimate relationship with Jesus. And perhaps of greatest immediate importance, making the book of Revelation a part of your regular study and meditation will lead to having a burning heart of passion for the Bridegroom.
Thus, far from being muddled, Revelation's predictions of its audience's immediate future was amazingly accurate! The Holy Spirit is emphasizing the truths of this book like no other time in church history, and just like the prophet Daniel was promised, the prophecies are being unveiled and understanding is being given at the time of the end. 28:18-20) and will cause everything to “work together for good” for those who love him (Rom. Most notably is Hank Hanegraaff's latest book, Unlocking The Apocalypse Code, where he now makes the same assertions. Let’s agree that anything the Devil wants to keep cloaked in confusion is worth searching out and shouting from the rooftops. I predict that in the days, weeks, months, years to come, Jesus Christ will be Lord and His Word will be found true and reliable. 14:2-3), I am reminded that my Lord deserves my worship of him in prayer and song because he saved me on that cross (Rev.

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