Tagged: Book of Revelation

The seven churches of Revelation

The apostle John is instructed to write to the “angels” of the seven churches in Asia, a Roman province that is now part of modern Turkey. Some interpreters believe the angels to be human messengers, perhaps the pastors of these churches, while others argue that the Greek word aggeloi in Revelation is used overwhelmingly of spirit beings and therefore in this context means guardian angels.

In any case, the “angel” of each church bears the responsibility of sharing an important message from Christ with the congregation.

Interpretation

There is little controversy among Bible interpreters concerning the letters to the seven churches, primarily because these letters do not predict future events. This does not mean, however, that the four major views of Revelation – preterist, historicist, futurist, and idealist – are in complete agreement.

For example, interpreters from the preterist and idealist schools, and some from the futurist school, “understand the letters to be addressed to the actual, historic churches named in them, and by extension to any churches that may find themselves in similar circumstances to theirs” (Steve Gregg, Revelation: Four Views, p. 62).
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Seven promises in Revelation 22 (Conclusion)

There are at least seven promises given to us in Revelation 22 that confirm Jesus’ victory over Satan, sin and death. These promises also assure us that all the effects of the Fall are reversed in Christ’s finished work and the salvation He has provided for us by grace through faith.

In the previous post, we looked at promises 1-4. We conclude our brief survey now.

Promise No. 5: Light (v. 5)

Before creation there was darkness (Gen. 1:2), but God, who is light, brought light into the universe. Just as darkness is the absence of light, so evil is depicted in Scripture as darkness because it is an absence – perhaps more accurately, a shunning – of God’s holy presence. Eternal separation from God is called “outer darkness” (Matt. 8:12).

While Jesus suffered the wrath of God for the sins of the world there was darkness over the whole land (Mark 15:33). Unbelievers love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil (John 3:19). Jesus came to deliver us from darkness (John 12:46). Darkness is associated with Satan and his kingdom (Acts 26:18; Rom. 13:12; Col. 1:13).

But in the New Jerusalem there is abundant light; in fact, there is no need of the sun, moon or stars, or of any artificial light, because God provides light for us. Why is this light promised to us? Because Jesus is the light of the world (John 8:12).
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Seven promises in Revelation 22 (Part 1)

There are at least seven promises given to us in Revelation 22 that confirm Jesus’ victory over Satan, sin and death. These promises also assure us that all the effects of the Fall are reversed in Christ’s finished work and the salvation He has provided for us by grace through faith.

In this regard, we should view Revelation not merely as a book of frightening – and often confusing – imagery, but as a book of warm and assuring promises about God’s sovereignty over human affairs and angelic conflict. In the end, we who read, hear and heed the words of this prophecy are indeed blessed because we know the God who created all things is faithful.

Promise No. 1: Living water (v. 1; see also Rev. 21:6; 22:17)

There was a river in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:10) that served as the source of four other rivers. But when Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden they lost access to this pure source of water and drank from streams now affected by the Fall. A person may live for up to 40 days without food but only three days without water. The body itself is made up largely of water, so water is essential to life. Jesus often spoke about water as an image of eternal life supplied by the Holy Spirit (see John 4:10-14; 7:37-39).

In the New Jerusalem, we see a river of pure, living water flow from the throne of God and of the Lamb, and all whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life may drink freely from it. Ezekiel also had a vision of pure water in the glorious future temple (Ezek. 47:1-12; see also Zech. 14:8). This living water depicts the Holy Spirit who inhabits the human spirits of believers but is cut off from unbelievers (Rom. 8:9).
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Revelation 20: Download the free study

We are nearly through with our verse-by-verse study of the Book of Revelation, focusing on four major views of the so-called Apocalypse of John.

You may read the commentary to date either by clicking on End Times or Revelation in the drop-down menu (Topics) to the right.

Whether you’re a preterist, who sees the events of Revelation as fulfilled in the first centuries of the Christian era; a historicist, who views the events of Revelation as unfolding throughout the course of history; a futurist, who sees most of Revelation as yet unfulfilled; or an idealist, who sees Revelation setting forth timeless truths concerning the battle between good and evil, there are important truths the Lord reveals to all of us in this book.

We would do well to approach Revelation with caution — and with great anticipation, knowing God will fulfill all His promises to us. We also should be comforted by the fact that Revelation is the only book in Scripture specifically promising a blessing to those who hear its prophecies and keep them.

Download the commentary on Revelation 20

The marriage of the Lamb has come – Revelation 19:6-8

Previously: Salvation, glory, and power – Revelation 19:1-5

The scripture

Rev. 19:6 – Then I heard something like the voice of a vast multitude, like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder, saying: Hallelujah, because our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun to reign! 7 Let us be glad, rejoice, and give Him glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. 8 She was given fine linen to wear, bright and pure. For the fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints.  (HCSB)

The marriage of the Lamb has come

In verse 6, John once again hears something like the voice of a vast multitude, further described “like the sound of cascading waters, and like the rumbling of loud thunder.” Likely, this is the same heavenly choir we encounter in verses 1-3, but it is singing a different tune. Rather than praise God for his righteous judgment of the notorious prostitute, the multitude now exults in the coming reign of the Lord and the marriage of the Lamb.

“Hallelujah, because our Lord God, the Almighty, has begun to reign!” the choir sings. We should not imply from these words of celebration that our eternal and omnipotent God has ever failed to reign. The earth – indeed the whole universe – is always under His watchful eye and sovereign hand.

However, these heaven dwellers know full well that Satan, too, has a kingdom. He rebelled against God and took a vast number of fallen angels with him. He usurped the dominion God entrusted to Adam through deceit. As the god of this age and the prince of a dark kingdom in opposition to God, he is the “strong man” of whom Jesus speaks in Mat. 12:29. But in coming to earth and putting on the veil of the flesh, Jesus has entered the strong man’s house and bound him.

Since His finished work on the cross 2,000 years ago, the Lamb of God has been plundering the strong man’s goods – the souls of people – and bringing them into the kingdom of heaven. The judgment of Babylon the Great signals the complete collapse of Satan’s rebellious kingdom. Yet we should comfort ourselves in knowing that the reign of God over all creation has never been in jeopardy.
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