The Time Is at Hand: Intro to Book of Revelation :: By Donald Whitchard

Matthew 24:39-41, Mark 13:24-27, Luke 21:25-28, John 14:1-3,2 Timothy 3:16-17,2 Peter 1:19-21, Revelation 1:1-3

Summary: The book of Revelation is the unveiling of what the LORD has in store for the closing chapters of history as we know it. Revelation shows us that Jesus Christ is the Conquering King who will make all things new.

“THE Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants – things which must shortly take place. He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the Word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it, for the time is near” (Revelation 1:1-3, NKJV).

The book of Revelation is the written record of the total and final fulfillment of all biblical prophecy. It is the assurance that God’s promises will always be kept. It tells us about the certainty of both eternal reward and punishment, the accumulation of all Divine warnings, the triumph of Christ over all things, and that all things will be made new. It is the final appeal of salvation, the closing chapter of God’s act of redemption, the restoration of Paradise, and the record of the tragic consequences of rebellion and rejection of Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), and the Only Savior who provides eternal life and peace with God the Father.

The book of Revelation lends itself to both symbol and substance of what is to come and what will be accomplished. In the book of Revelation, all creation will play a role, either for good or evil within the Sovereign plan of God for the Last Days. The world as we know it will come to an end on His terms, and not by some treaty or law where we subsist on bugs, barley, and a dystopian lifestyle to “save the planet” and reduce the temperature of the earth by a degree or so.

The book of Revelation forever destroys the thoughts and actions of reprobate humanity and their plans to rid this planet of the idea that there is a God and that we are accountable to Him. While Scripture tells us about the rise and reign of Satan’s “Man of Lawlessness” (Daniel 11:36-45; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; Revelation 13:1-10), it also tells us not to dwell on him but to keep our eyes upon the One who will “slay him with the breath of His coming” (Luke 21:28; 2 Thess. 2:8; Revelation 19:11-21). As Christians, we are to watch for Christ, not Antichrist.

Scripture afflicts the comfortable and comforts the afflicted, and Revelation is proof of that fact. Revelation is a warning cry to believers and the churches to remain faithful, devoted, and obedient to the commandments and absolute rule of the Lord Jesus Christ and not allow the world’s influence to corrode and compromise the mission of sharing the Gospel with all people (Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8-11; 1 John 2:15-17).

The book of Revelation is the only one that promises a blessing on those who read and study its contents (Revelation 1:3). The question is: Why is it then one of the most disputed and avoided books of Scripture if what I have just described so far gives the believer assurance, hope, joy, a sense of victory, and fulfillment of God’s wonderful promises?

The answer lies in the fact that pastors and teachers are scared to touch it because they feel that it cannot be interpreted properly, or that the symbols and word pictures found in it cannot be understood, or a host of other inexcusable reasons. One-third of the Bible deals with prophecy, and to ignore it or dismiss its significance is the sign that either you are not being taught or not willing to heed the “whole counsel of God” and, therefore, are being spiritually deprived (Psalm 73:24; John 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).

Pastors, you are NOT free to discard the teaching of Bible prophecy to pick and choose those portions of Scripture you like. You are not to become fixated on “pet doctrines,” social issues, ideological tirades, and feelings or preach messages that “tickle the ears” which end up damning the souls of your flock (Matthew 7:21-23, 18:6; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:3).

Revelation is not some type of cosmic conglomeration of visions and events that are the product of apostolic beliefs of how the world would end. Revelation is a factual, literal, historical, logical, and rational holy account of what is to come according to the plans and will of Almighty God, nothing more or less.

With prayer, direction from the Holy Spirit, and a sense of spiritual maturity, the book of Revelation can be properly interpreted. God is NOT the Author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33), and Revelation is no exception.

In the next installment of our study of Revelation, we are going to look at the importance of literal interpretation of Scripture, and specifically that of prophecy.