Jon Gary Williams
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Article 64 - N.T. Survey: Revelation

Survey of the New Testament
Book of Revelation

Jon Gary Williams


I. The man John
A. An apostle of Christ, son of Zebedee, brother of James - Mk. 1:19
B. Is thought to be the disciple Jesus loved - John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7,20
C. Was eyewitness to recorded events - John 1:14; 19:35; 21:24
D. Writer of the gospel of John
II. The book of Revelation
A. Written by John - 1:4

B. Likely the last book of the New Testament to be written, some time before 70 AD

C. Contains 404 verses divided into 22 chapters

D. Written to the seven churches of Asia (Asia Minor) from the isle of Patmos (1:4,9)

E. The prophetic book of the New Testament
III. The message of Revelation
A. To give encouragement to early Christians who were being persecuted (1:9)

B. Emphasis is given to "overcoming"
1. Christ was to overcome
2. Christians would overcome (2:7,11,17,26; 3:5,12,21; 11:7; 21:7)
C. No matter how difficult things were (or would be) early Christians were assured of victory in the end
IV. Observations about Revelation
A. The prophetic symbols found in Revelation related to events that were relatively near
1. Things that: "must shortly come to pass" (1:1), "must shortly by done" (22:6)
2. Therefore, Revelation does not relate to events yet future to us
B. The interpretation of prophesy
1. The only sure interpretation of a prophesy is an inspired interpretation
2. But there have been no inspired interpreters since Revelation was penned
3. Therefore, no one today can give an undisputed interpretation of all the symbolic language of Revelation
C. Revelation was deigned to be understood
1. It was understood by the first century church (1:3)

2. Within the church God had those who could understand prophetic language 

         a. The apostles could understand (Matt. 4:14-16; Acts 2:29-31)
b. The prophets could understand (Acts 21:10,11)
c. Those with the gift of knowledge could understand (I Cor. 12:8)
V. Outline of Revelation
A. Introduction -- the process of the Revelation (1:1-3)

B. Salutation of John and Jesus (1:4-8)

C. John's call to prophesy (1:9-20)

D. Specific messages to the seven churches (2:1 - 3:22)
[Note: It is here that the symbolic visions of Revelation begin. They are divided into two groups. It seems that the second group is parallel with the first, using a different set of symbols, becoming more extended and intense.]
E. The first group of visions (4:1 - 11:19)
1. The heavenly court -- the glory of God and the Lamb (4:1 - 5:14)
2. The opening of the seven seals -- judgment on sin (6:1; resuming at 8:1)
3. The interlude -- the vast number of spiritual Israel (7:1-17)
4. The seven angels with trumpets -- visions of conflict and God's call to repentance (8:1 - 11:19)
F. The second group of visions (12:1 - 22:5)
1. The woman with child -- Christ's church (12:1-2)
2. The great red dragon -- Satan, the enemy of peace (12:3-6)
3. The war in heaven -- Satan persecutes God's people (12:7-17)
4. The first beast -- the power of Rome, persecution of the saints (13:1-10)
5. The second beast -- the corrupt Roman emperor and the agents of the dragon (Satan) (13:11-18)
6. The visions of Mt. Zion -- the fall of Babylon (Jerusalem) and assurance for God's people (14:1-20)
7. The seven last plagues -- security amid turmoil (15:1 - 16:21)
8. Visions of the fall of Babylon -- the great harlot (Jerusalem) (17:1-18)
9. The final proclamation -- doom of Babylon (Jerusalem) (18:1-24)
10. The vision of overcoming -- celebration of victory (19:1-21)
11. The binding of Satan -- the reign of the saints with Jesus (20:1-15)
12. The decent of the new Jerusalem -- new heaven and new earth (21:1-27)
13. The bountifulness of spiritual blessings -- spiritual Jerusalem (22:1-5)
G. Conclusion
1. Confirmation of the apocalypse (22:6-16)
2. Heaven's invitation and God's final warning (22:17-21)