Reasons to Study the Book of Revelation

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Eschatology. A study of the last things.

This word alone brings up a number of different reactions within Christians. Some are way too excited because they have a radical pre-occupation with it. They have overly-detailed schemes in which seemingly every passage of Scripture matches perfectly with some current event (did you know the Rapture was supposed to happen 3 days ago?). Unfortunately, many of these folks believe that if you don’t follow their scheme, then you are a heretic (I just had this conversation with a guy this past week about this – so, yes, they are out there).

Others are genuinely curious and want to know what the Bible says about the End Times. They love Christ and His Word and desire to read and understand. However, this curiosity turns to confusion when they start reading eschatology Scripture (say, Revelation), which often leads to giving up. It is not that they don’t want to know, they just are unsure how to approach it or understand it and no one has helpfully and faithfully taught them.

Finally, there are others, I call “pan-eschatologists.” These people do not like all the controversy or opinions or difficulties or divisions eschatology creates, so they will just leave it in the hands of God who will make everything “pan-out.”

I seek for a balanced approach. My goal when approaching End Times texts is to read the text of Scripture as it presents itself—in context of the book, but also in context of the rest of the Scriptures—and allow it to inform my understanding of “the end.” My hope is that you would do the same. After all, the Bible has 66-books, not 60ish with Isaiah 60-66, Ezekiel 40-48, Daniel 7-12, most of the Minor Prophets, Matthew 24-25, Luke 21, Romans 11, 1 Thessalonians 4-5, 2 Thessalonians 2, and Revelation being the awkward step-children.

Now, in this blog, I want to just focus in on one book, Revelation, and give you reasons that you should be excited about studying the book of Revelation. But, before I start, let me give you a great quote by Henry Morris:

Henry Morris: “The Book of Revelation is the final and definitive assemblage of God’s prophecies of the future, incorporating and explicating all those other prophecies of both Old and New Testaments that are yet to be fulfilled. It is therefore a tremendously important book for every Christian to study and master.”

 

 With that said, here are 4 Reasons why studying Revelation is a worthwhile endeavor(and I’ll give 4 more reasons the next time I blog):

 Revelation is in the Bible

Alistair Begg has helpfully said, “[God] has left nothing out that needs to be in and there is nothing in that needs to be out.”[1] In other words, all of the Bible’s contents and information, including the End Times, are a part of God’s revelation, God’s Word to us, and is therefore meant for your knowledge and your spiri

tual growth. To avoid a book like Revelation and decide to read it as fast as possible when you get to it in your Bible Reading Plan is to miss out on tremendous blessing and spiritual growth. See 2 Tim 3:16-17.

 Revelation is for the Church

If you have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, then you are in the worldwide church of God. That is great news, because this book of Revelation is meant for YOU!!

Revelation 1:7, 11, & 20 tells us Jesus is speaking to the church.[2]  And in case you forget that by the time you read through Revelation, Jesus repeats Himself in ch. 22: “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches.”

Of course, we know that all the New Testament was written for the church. Well, that also includes the book of Revelation. To skip it or ignore or avoid it is to basically tell God that the other 26 books belong, but He made a mistake here.

If you are a part of Jesus’ Church, Revelation is for you![3]

Revelation causes you to know God better

I would actually say this is true of prophecy generally, because in prophecy you are reminded that God is still sovereign (Isa 4012-26; Ps 2; Rev 4:11; 11:15ff; 19:11-20:15), that He is good (Rom 8:18; Rev 7:12, 17) and we see God for who He is— holy (4:8) & sovereign (4:11), true (6:10) & wise (7:12), eternal (4:10) & omnipotent/all-powerful (4:11).

In other words, prophecy, and in specific Revelation, reveals God the Father in all His glory and majesty. If you want to know God better, read/study/know the prophecies in Scripture, including Revelation.

Revelation Focuses Your Eyes on Jesus

In John 5, Jesus is being questioned by the religious leaders about who He is. Jesus, in v. 39, makes an amazing statement: “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me” (cf. Luke 24:27). So both the Old Testament and New Testament were and are about Jesus. He is the center!

When we arrive at Revelation, we see this still to be true. Revelation 1:1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” Can’t get anymore clearer than that, eh? And then, as we read on throughout Revelation, we find all kinds of titles given to Jesus: the faithful witness (1:5), the firstborn of the dead (1:5), the ruler of the kings of the earth (1:5), the Alpha and Omega (1:8; 21:6), the first and the last (1:17), the living One (1:18), the One who has the sharp double-edged sword (2:12), the Son of God (2:18), the One who has eyes like a fiery flame and whose feet are like polished bronze (2:18), the One who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars (3:1), the Holy One, the True One (3:7), who holds the key of David, who opens doors no one can shut, and shuts doors no one can open (3:7), the Amen, the faithful and true witness (3:14) , the Originator of God’s creation (3:14), the Lion from the tribe of Judah (5:5), the Root of David (5:5), the Lamb of God (5:6; 6:1; 7:9-10; 8:1; 12:11; 13:8; 14:1; 15:3; 17:14; 19:7; 21:9; 22:1), the Lord, holy and true (6:10), the One who is faithful and true (19:11), the Word of God (19:13), the King of kings and Lord of lords (19:16), etc., etc.

And if that wasn’t enough, Jesus is set alongside God as equal with God, because in Revelation, Jesus possesses the attributes and rights of God: sovereign (1:5), eternal (1:17-18), the right to judge men (19:11), decides who lives and who dies (1:18; 2:23), He receives worship (5:13), and He rules from God’s throne (22:1, 3).[4]

SO, at the core, Revelation is meant to reveal truth about Jesus.You want to know Jesus, know Revelation!

More next time.

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[1] Alistair Begg, “The Attributes of God,” Truth For Life, accessed July 17, 2016, https://www.truthforlife.org/resources/sermon/attributes-of-god-the/

[2] Some may say that according to the context, this book is for those seven churches in Asia because they are specifically mentioned. If that is the case, then let’s throw out Luke and Acts, for those were written to a Gentile man named Theophilus (Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1). Also, throw out Romans thru James, 2-3 John, as they were all addressed to those churches and some individuals, not us. So then, based on this argument, you are left with Matthew, Mark, John, 1-2 Peter, 1 John, and Jude (a 7-book NT). No one in church history would ever argue that we only have a 7-book NT. Therefore, what we have is what God intended for His church. Will you trust Him and His plan to give you exactly what He knows you need?

[3] Some may ask: why is Revelation addressed to the church if the church will not experience the tribulation of Revelation 6-19? Answer: God frequently warned Israel in the OT of impending judgment, even though the generation who received the prophecy would not experience it. Paul and Peter both did this in 1 Thess 5:6 and 2 Peter 3:14-15. The same pattern is followed by John in Revelation. The church was alerted to God’s future judgment of sin on earth as a basis for the church to teach pure doctrine and live holy lives (adapted from Richard Mayhue, “Why A Pretribulation Rapture” in Christ’s Prophetic Plans, edited by John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue [Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2012], 99).

[4] FYI: Old Testament passages used in Revelation describe Jesus as God (Deut. 10:17 with Rev. 19:11; Prov. 3:12 with 3:19; Dan. 7:9 with 1:14; Isa. 44:6 with 1:17)

 

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About Greg Peterson

Greg received his B.A. from Moody Bible Institute in Bible & Theology and his M. Div and Th. M. from The Master's Seminary. Greg has served in various areas of the church, including youth, senior adults, events, and choir. Greg currently serves as the Youth Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church in Springdale, AR. Greg is married to Michelle and looks forward to one day being blessed with children.