“One of the primary challenges of interpreting Revelation is determining what kind of literature it is. At first glance it appears to be apocalyptic (exotic visions and symbolism) or prophecy. However, the reference to the human author and audience, the standard greeting and ending, and the mini-letters in chapters 2 and 3 indicate that we must also view Revelation as a letter. While this may seem more confusing, it actually simplifies things, for we can now view the book as a much longer literary cousin of the letter of Jude, which also contains extensive apocalyptic and prophetic material within an epistolary framework. Therefore, we can interpret Revelation in much the same way as we do Jude.
A further question relates to how to decide among the interpretive approaches to the book. Is Revelation depicting (1) the time of the writing of the book, in the first century A.D. (the preterist view); (2) the sweep of church history (the historicist view); (3) principles or ideas that apply equally in any time (the idealist view); or (4) the end of the age (the futurist view)? Of these approaches, the historicist approach has been discredited by the diverse, and highly subjective, understandings of the scholars who have championed the view. The other three views are helpful to one degree or another, especially when used together. It is most effective to interpret Revelation as apocalyptic prophecy primarily referring to the end times, spoken to the problems and needs of first-century churches and yet communicating principles applicable to hearers at any point in history until the end of the age.
The immediate context for both the author and the initial hearers of the book of Revelation was a group of churches experiencing selective persecution in the midst of doctrinal and practical problems set against the backdrop of unseen but powerful spiritual warfare. The teaching that appears focused on events at the end of the age (eschatology) parallels practical (Christian life) choices believers must make in the time ahead. And indeed Revelation provides a virtually complete tour of systematic theology categories. There is much about Christ, mankind and sin, the people of God (both the church and Israel), holy angels, and Satan and the demons. There is important material on God’s power, aspects of the wok of the Holy Spirit, the nature of Scripture, and the wonder of salvation. The book clearly and eloquently offers the gospel, inviting its readers to enter into grand narrative.
The believer can learn much theology from Revelation. However, as John warned the church at Ephesus—to understand, believe, and even persevere and defend the doctrinal purity of the faith is not enough. Whatever temptations and alternatives may emerge, it is crucial to passionately love the Lord with all our hearts, placing Him first in our lives. Only in this way can we become ‘over comers.’ In the body of the book, the ultimate choice for time and eternity is whether one will worship the beast (the Antichrist figure energized by Satan) or Christ the Lamb. The strikingly placed command in 18:4 for God’s people to ‘come out’ of Babylon implies that both unbelievers and compromised professing Christians are, even if subconsciously, in league with the diabolical spiritual force that has martyred many of God’s saints throughout the ages. For either group—unbelievers or sinning church members—the answer is to repent to gain the victory. The warning from Revelation is thus clear: those who refuse the Lord’s offer of salvation will face a climactic judgment and eternal consequences of their choice.”(HCSB)

1:1 and 3, “The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave Him to show His slaves what must quickly take place…Blessed is the one who reads and blessed are those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it, because the time is near!” Commentator A. Boyd Luter Jr. responded to these verses by stating, “The idea that what is recorded in Revelation ‘must quickly take place’ and that ‘the time is near’ has been used to try to prove these are false prophecies, given that it has been more than 1,900 years since the book was written. However, while it is true that Christ’s coming is potentially near at hand, the wording in verses 1 and 3 means something different. John said that when the events of the body of the book begin to take place, the prophecies would be fulfilled quickly. Furthermore, in reply to 1:3, it is a gross misunderstanding to think one is blessed simply for reading or studying Revelation. It is necessary to heed what is written and apply it in one’s life. This is the first of seven significant blessing statements, or beatitudes, in the book.” The revelation must start with us as we study God’s Word to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ and allow His Spirit to guide us to live the lives we were meant to live.

In 1:7, we read, “Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, including those who pierced Him. And all the families of the earth will mourn over Him. This is certain. Amen.” Luter pointed out that, “This is the theme verse for Revelation. The wording is a collage of Daniel 7:13 and Zechariah 12:10. The mourning is often understood as the response of those for whom it is too late to be saved. The context of Zechariah 12:10 indicate that the mourning will include true saving repentance.” This particular scene is one that I can have an idea of the emotions going through everyone. For the believers, the mourning will consist of tears from sins committed as well as a sense of joy and astonishment that in spite of our failures, God loved us enough to give His Son up to pay the price so that we may spend eternity with Him. For the unbelievers, such grief will consist of regret for not accepting Jesus into their lives. When this happens, it will be one of the last opportunities for people to get right with God by accepting His grace and love through Christ. Moving on to 1:12-18, Luter made note that, “John had seen Jesus Christ in a similar glorified state at His transfiguration, and he had seen His resurrection body after He was raised, until the ascension. In this vision, the veil was lifted and John saw the One he had known in the flesh. Even though John had been as close as any of the disciples to Jesus, John had not begun to comprehend the majesty of the One with whom he had walked during Jesus’ three years of ministry. The impact of Jesus’ appearance was overwhelming.”
I Can Only Imagine by MercyMe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0xwzItqYmII

In regards to chapters 2 and 3 Luter indicated, “The churches were chosen because of the lessons they provide for all the churches. In general, each letter includes the following elements: (1) a description of the risen Christ drawn from the vision in 1:12-18; (2) commendation of the church; (3) rebuke of the church’s shortcomings (although there is no criticism of the churches at Smyrna and Philadelphia) and instruction about how to correct them; (4) a command to listen to what the Spirit says to the churches; and (5) promises to the persevering spiritual over comer.”

2:2-4, “I know your works, your labor, and your endurance, and that you cannot tolerate evil…You also possess endurance and have tolerated many things because of My name, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you: you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Luter mentioned that in reply to these verses, “A timeless concern facing the church at Ephesus was dead orthodoxy. Though commended for persevering in zeal for proper belief, these church members had left the love they had at first. This probably means love for God, since the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all one’s being. Having fallen does not mean losing one’s salvation, though ceasing to love God is a serious spiritual matter requiring soul-searching repentance.” It is so easy, even for Christians, to be caught up focusing on the daily time schedules rather than staying flexible and taking time out to love others. Imagine someone driving to church, see a motorist on the side of the road in need of assistance, and just keeps going to avoid being late for service! Such events do occur in real life, and it is because of these that people view Christians as narrow-minded hypocrites. If only we could keep the love we had when we first accepted Jesus into our lives, the impact we would make in the world would be extraordinary.

2:9-10, “I know your tribulation and poverty, yet you are rich…Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Look, the Devil is about to throw some of you into prison to test you, and you will have tribulation for 10 days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” Here we find the simplicity of life, we may be materially poor, however, we can be rich in faith, hope, and love. When we face tribulations, it is critical to always keep looking up. We read in 2:19-20, and 23: “I know your works—your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your last works are great than the first. But I have this against you: you tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit sexual immorality and to eat meat sacrificed to idols. I will kill her children with the plague. Then all the churches will know that I am the One who examines minds and hearts, and I will give to each of you according to your works.” Christians are saved by their faith in Christ and not by works. Our faith should lead us to do good works. God does not want His people to live double lives. It should be a daily prayer for us to ask God to provide us with His assessment in our minds and hearts and how to change them to work only for Him. Moving ahead to 3:1-3, “…I know your works; you have a reputation for being alive but you are dead. Be alert and strengthen what remains, which is about to die, for I have not found your works complete before My God. Remember therefore what you have received and heard; keep it and repent…” In reply to this, Luter stated, “The church at Sardis was an example of congregations that had basically quit walking with the Lord and standing for Him. They may have still been going through the right motions, but in God’s eyes they were about to die. There was a faithful remnant, but it was time for the spiritually lethargic majority to wake up and repent or face consequences from the Lord.” A few verses later we find in 3:8-9, “I know your works. Because you have limited strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name, look, I have placed before you an open door that no one is able to close. Take note! I will make those from the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying—note this—I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you.”

3:11, 17-20: “I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown. Because you say, ‘I’m rich; I have become wealthy, and need nothing, and you don’t know that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire so that you may be rich, and white clothes so that you may be dressed and your shameful nakedness not be exposed, and ointment to spread on your eyes so that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be committed and repent. Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and have dinner with him and he with Me.” In regards to theses verses, Luter pointed out “Their well-to-do status, materially, had blinded them to their utter spiritual destitution. The Lord had been pushed to the outside of this congregation and was now seeking to reenter through their repentance. What the devil or false doctrine does not accomplish in the church, self-centered materialism often will.” Primarily, we must hold on to our faith and not be concerned with anything else for God provides all that we need.

In reply to 4:8-11 Luter observed, “The heavenly throne room is characterized by unceasing joyful praise, thanksgiving, and worship toward the Lord by all the creatures present. As believers here on earth consistently engage in similar worshipful living, we prepare to live in the presence of the Lord.” We read in 4:11, “Our Lord and God, You are worthy to receive glory and honor and power, because You have created all things, and because of Your will they exist and were created.” That verse provides enough grounds for unceasing joyful praise and thanksgiving! It is by God’s will that we have been created, by His grace; we exist, by His love, we live. In regards to chapter 5, Luter notes, “Divine insight into the future is not available to those who are merely curious or clever. It is available only through Jesus, the Lion-Lamb, who has overcome through the cross and the tomb. The ‘new song’ sung in heaven after Christ is declared worthy to open the scroll has to do with His redemptive work on the cross. Its target group is the same as the Great Commission, which is for all the nations. Worship of the Lord will eventually characterize all of creation, even as it already does heaven.”
No Higher Ground by Maranatha: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpTjqmjXB9Q

We read in Chapter 6 of the six seals being opened. In sum, the first was a horseman that went out as a victor to conquer. The second was peace taken from the earth where people would slaughter one another. The third was a statement, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius…” The fourth was death by famine, plague, and wild animals. The fifth contained souls of saints slaughtered crying out, “O Lord, holy and true, how long until You judge and avenge our blood from those who live on the earth? A white robe was given to each of them, and they were told to rest a little while longer until the number of their fellow slaves and their brothers…would be completed.” The sixth seal contained “A violent earthquake occurred; the sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair; the entire moon became like blood; the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its unripe figs when shaken by a high wind; the sky separated like a scroll being rolled up; and every mountain and island was moved from its place.” It is in verse 11 where God instructs the martyrs to “rest a little while longer…” Notice that this instruction is found in the middle of complete chaos. This verse can apply to our lives here and now. If we find ourselves in pain over a crisis in any area, we can take heart in this verse and know that what God started, He will complete. One of my favorite quotations state, “If God leads you to it, He will lead you through it.” We must rest in Him and give Him complete dependence over our lives.

Chapter 7 contains the sealed of Israel. I love what it says in the section of A Multitude from the Great Tribulation found in verses 9-12: “After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were robed in white with palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: Salvation belongs to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb! All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying: Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.” Moving ahead to the end of verse 15 through 17, “The One seated on the throne will shelter them: no longer will they hunger; no longer will they thirst; no longer will the sun strike them, or any heat. Because the Lamb who is at the center of the throne will shepherd them; He will guide them to springs of living waters, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

In chapters 8 and 9, the Seventh Seal is opened and six trumpets are blown focusing on the hour of testing. Each trumpet blow brings destruction and terror for those who are still living on earth. Believers are protected in terms of their eternal destiny by the seal of the Holy Spirit. The only salvation for those not killed by the plagues of the trumpet judgments is repentance and faith. However, since their names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life, they will not repent. 9:21, “And they did not repent of their murders, their sorceries, their sexual immorality, or their thefts.” This is disheartening to know that after all that has been seen and done by God’s power, there will be people who still live in sin and refuse to repent. My theory on this is that the reason for not repenting is that those people will feel like it is too late for them. They will feel that they have been destined to spend eternity in hell. They have no concept on the kind of love God has. Later on, in reply to 10:8-11, Luter mentioned, “John eating the little scroll recalls Ezekiel being commanded to do the same thing. In John’s case, while the eating was sweet, the digestion was bitter. The implication here is that, while the Word of God (i.e., John’s prophesying) is sweet, the calloused rejection of his hearers is bitter indeed. All ministry of the Word of God is similarly bittersweet.” In the next chapter, one of my favorite verses is found in 11:15, “The seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Messiah, and He will reign forever and ever!”\
In The Sky by Bob Carlisle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlatxx8Nnk8

Luter understood “Chapters 12 through 14 functions as a prelude to the sequence of events (bowls-of wrath) in chapters 15-16. They provide a midstream orientation to characters and content that is crucial in understanding the latter part of Revelation. In chapters 15 through 19, the bowls-of-wrath unfolds from the end of the trumpet sequence and telescopes all the way to the second coming.”

In reply to 12:11, “Sometimes what looks like defeat is victory, as when brethren die for their faith. Satan has killed them, but they have actually conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” In reply to 15:2-24, “Those who are victorious are martyrs who responded properly to the preaching of the eternal gospel by fearing, glorifying, and worshiping God. The ‘song of God’s servant Moses, and the song of the Lamb’ is a parallel description of the songs of the children of Israel, safe on the other side of the Red Sea after their escape from Egypt.” In reply to 16:8-11, Luter provided interesting insight that, “Even under the judgment of the most intense heat and darkness, the beast worshipers will not respond positively to the eternal gospel. They will not repent or glorify God.”

In chapters 17-19, Luter mentioned that these chapters contain “a postlude to the bowls of wrath, expanding the reader’s understanding of Babylon the Great, her relationship with the beast, and her just and final judgment. Babylon has the trappings of wealth and royalty. The wider mystery of Babylon at least partly has to do with her being the source of harlotry and abominations throughout history, including the martyrdom of God’s saints. Babylon may sit as a queen with a proud sense of security, but the judgment for her mountain of sins is sure and will be strong and swift. Those who doubt Christ’s coming in judgment misconstrue God’s incredible patience with the unrepentant world for a lack of power to bring about justice. The kings and merchants distance themselves from Babylon’s sudden and violent destruction. These kings and merchants do not lament Babylon’s grievous sins. They are most concerned with the fact that she will no longer generate wealth for them.” In chapter 19, the church (which consists of Christ-followers) joins with Jesus as the beast and his armies get defeated. In chapter 20, Satan is incarcerated in the abyss for a thousand years. At the end of the thousand years, Satan will be released and gather a final rebellion against God. When the rebellion is put down by fire from heaven, the devil will join the beast and false prophet in the lake of fire where all unbelievers will dwell for eternity.

In chapter 21, a new creation is made. 21:3-4, “Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look! God’s dwelling is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will exist no longer; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.” In chapter 22 Luter points out that, “The wording here pictures the new Jerusalem as also the new and permanent Eden which cannot be relinquished because there is no longer any curse. As Adam and Eve walked with the Lord periodically in the garden, so His presence will be constant and all inhabitants will have His name on their foreheads.”

Finally, In reply to 22:20 Luter mentions that, “Jesus promised to come quickly, but it has been almost two millennia since He made that promise. John prayed for Jesus to come soon. The amazing patience of the Lord toward the unbelieving world is responsible for Jesus’ delay and John’s unanswered prayer.”
Jesus Hurry By Rush of Fools: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQL8jf20pCY

This is the conclusion to the Biblical Commentary that I started in January 2010. Despite some obstacles and struggles I faced along the way, I feel a great sense of accomplishment in completing this. I have grown stronger in my faith in Jesus Christ while studying His Story. I hope that the readers have gained at the very least, more knowledge of why as a Christian I believe what I believe. If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, please do not wait any longer. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me a message. If you have made the decision to bring Jesus into your life, please pray this prayer:
“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.”
I encourage everyone to join a Biblical based church, become part of a Bible study and serve the Lord with the gifts that have been given to you with your whole heart. Always count your blessings, and no matter what you go through, know that you are never alone. For Jesus is walking with you hand in hand everyday, and when you are too tired to walk, He is carrying you through to the next day. May God’s blessings and peace be with you on your life’s journey.

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