NEW TESTAMENT SURVEY

Compiled by: Gary W. Summers


   

REVELATION

OUTLINE
1. Introduction (1:1-20) a. The Author of the Book (1:1-2) b. A Blessing for the Reader (1:3) c. Greeting (1:4-6) d. A Reminder That Jesus is Coming (1:7) e. The Eternal Nature of God (1:8) f. Jesus Among the Churches (1:9-20) 2. Letters to the Seven Churches (2:1-3:22) a. Ephesus (2:1-7) b. Smyrna (2:8-11) c. Pergamos (2:12-17) d. Thyatira (2:18-29) e. Sardis (3:1-6) f. Philadelphia (3:7-13) g. Laodicea (3:14-22) 3. A Vision of the Throne of God (4:1-11) 4. The Book With the Seven Seals (5:1-8:5) a. The Sealed Book (5:1-4) b. The Lion of the Tribe of Judah (5:5-14) c. The First Seal (6:1-2) d. The Second Seal (6:3-4) e. The Third Seal (6:5-6) f. The Fourth Seal (6:7-8) g. The Fifth Seal (6:9-11) h. The Sixth Seal (6:12-17) i. An Interlude (7:1-17) j. The Seventh Seal (8:1-5) 5. The Seven Trumpets (8:6-11:19) a. The First Trumpet (8:6-7) b. The Second Trumpet (8:8-9) c. The Third Trumpet (8:10-11) d. The Fourth Trumpet (8:12-13) e. The Fifth Trumpet: The First Woe- Locusts (9:1-12) f. The Sixth Trumpet: The Second Woe- 200 Million Horsemen (9:13-21) g. An Interlude (10:1-11:14) 1) The Little Book and The Seven Thunders (10:1-11) 2) The Measuring of the Temple (11:1-2) 3) The Two Witnesses (11:3-14) h. The Seventh Trumpet: The Third Woe- Judgment of the Nations (11:15-19) 6. Between the Plagues (12:1-14:20) a. The Woman and the Dragon (12:1-17) 1) The Woman Delivers her Child (12:1-6) 2) The Great Spiritual Battle (12:7-12) 3) The Dragon Persecutes the Woman (12:13-17) b. The Two Wild Beasts (13:1-18) 1) The Sea Beast (13:1-10) 2) The Land Beast (13:11-18) c. Righteous Judgment (14:1-20) 1) The Lamb on Mount Zion (14:1-5) 2) The Three Angels (14:6-13) 3) The Harvest of the Earth (14:14-20) 7. The Seven Bowls of Wrath (15:1-16:21) a. The Seven Angels (15:1-16:1) b. The First Bowl (16:2) c. The Second Bowl (16:3) d. The Third Bowl (16:4-7) e. The Fourth Bowl (16:8-9) f. The Fifth Bowl (16:10-11) g. The Sixth Bowl (16:12-16) h. The Seventh Bowl (16:17-21) 8. The Triumph of Almighty God (17:1-20:15) a. The Scarlet Woman (17:1-18) 1) Her Description and Crimes (17:1-6) 2) The Identity of the Great Harlot (17:7-18) b. The Destruction of the Great Whore (18:1-24) c. The Hallelujahs of Victory (19:1-10) d. The Destruction of the Beast and the False Prophet (19:11-21) e. The Thousand Years (20:1-10) f. The Judgment (20:11-15) 9. The New Heaven and the New Earth (21:1-22:5) a. The New Heaven and the New Earth (21:1-8) b. The New Jerusalem (21:9-22:5) 1) The Exterior of the City (21:9-21) 2) The Interior of the City (21:22-22:5) 10. Epilogue: Final Exhortations (22:6-21)
KEY VERSES AND PASSAGES
1:1 "...things which must shortly take place..." (see also 22:6). 1:3 "...for the time is near" (see also 22:10). 1:18 "'I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore....'" 2:4 "'Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.'" 3:19 "'As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.'" 4:11 "'You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.'" 14:13 "...'Write: "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on."' '"Yes,"' says the Spirit, '"that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."'" 19:16 "And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." 20:15 "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." 21:8 "'But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.'" 22:14 "Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city." 22:17 "And the Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' And let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." 22:18-19 The warning not to tamper with the Word of God.
REVELATION
The title Revelation (note that it is singular) is derived from the Greek word apokalupsis, meaning "an uncovering, a laying bare, making naked," according to Thayer. The book uncovers or unveils through symbols, signs, imagery, and visions the immediate future of the church (1:1 & 3, 22:6 & 10), including the persecution she will face, the destruction of her enemies, and her ultimate triumph. The book paints a true picture of reality by which the saints of the first century and following could be comforted. Following are some of the major views of the book. 1. Idealist (sometimes called "Philosophy of History"). Those holding to this view assert that the abundant symbols used throughout the book are not meant to be understood to have any particular meaning. Their purpose is to simply point out that good triumphs over evil. Thus, John does not refer to any specific events that will occur in the future; he merely conveys the same message over and over again with the use of different symbols each time. "Symbols are understood to refer to forces or tendencies and may thus be fulfilled over and over as those forces or tendencies are repeated in history" (William Hendriksen in More than Conquerors). This method approaches Revelation in a very vague and ambiguous way, but it is certainly the least nerve-racking precisely because it avoids the need for a detailed explanation. Most are not satisfied with this one. 2. Preterist. In this view the greater part of the book of Revelation (chapters 4-19) occurred before the end of the first century. In fact, Foy E. Wallace, Jr., wrote a book insisting that most of the book was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Although the majority of scholars claim that the book was written in A.D. 96, Wallace argues for A.D. 69. Jim McGuiggan sets the date of composition in A.D. 79; he also thinks that chapters 20-22 have already occurred. The strength of these views is that the fulfillment of these events was immediate, a fact that some interpretations ignore altogether. The weaknesses, however, are many; few subscribe to this view. 3. Historical Background. "Its advocates see in Revelation a book written for the people of that day, set in a definite historical background, and fulfilled in the events of the first two or three centuries" (Homer Hailey, from page 50 of Revelation: An Introduction and Commentary). In this view the persecutors are the Roman Empire, and the purpose of the book is to show the eventual triumph of Christianity over this corrupt world government. To accept this view means seeing the fulfillment of these things as a sequence beginning shortly after the book was written but ending after three or four hundred years. Of course, the eventual outcome of the battle (and there is but one enemy) would be of interest to the brethren under fire. This is the most reasonable explanation for the book of Revelation. 4. Continuous-Historical (also called "historicist"). This view makes chapters 4-19 of Revelation "a forecast of the church's history and fortunes from John's day until the end of time, and thus some parts of the book have been fulfilled, and some parts have not" (Hailey 49). Such a view invites a wide latitude of interpretation, and the explanations differ greatly depending on what century it is. The chief criticism of this theory is: "What possible value could the future history of the church be to troubled, persecuted saints in the first century?" How would they even understand it? 5. Futurist. This is the pre-millennial view, the one enjoined in the Left Behind series. Ray Summers (no relation) gives an excellent summary of this view which sprang (in modern times, at least) from John Darby (1800-1882). They hold that Jesus came to establish a visible rule on this earth and that John the Baptist had this in mind when he preached that the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Jesus set out His standards for this kingdom, but the Jews rejected Him and His plans. The offer was then withdrawn, and the kingdom was postponed until the second coming. As a parenthesis in history Christ established His church. The church is not a fulfillment of the Old Testament. It is temporary and will come to an end with the "rapture," which is the sudden miraculous removal of all true believers to meet Christ in the air when He comes again. This "rapture" will not be visible to the world at large. The public part of the second coming of Christ will take place seven years later and is called "the Revelation." The seven-year period mentioned corresponds to the seventieth week of Daniel. The sixty-nine weeks closed with the first coming of Christ (His birth), but when the Jews rejected Christ, prophetic time ceased and does not begin again until the "rapture." During the seven-year period "the antichrist" will rule. The Jews who have been restored to Palestine will make a covenant with Him for the restoration of their worship. The temple will be rebuilt at Jerusalem, the scattered tribes regathered, and the sacrificial system re-instituted. After three-and-a-half years Antichrist will break faith with the Jews. This will be followed by great tribulation and suffering on the part of those who have become believers after the "rapture." Antichrist will demand that he be worshipped, and the refusal of Christians and good Jews to do so will bring about the tribulation. Most of the events of chapters 4 to 19 will take place during this time period, and when the Christians are just about overwhelmed, Christ will come to their rescue and overthrow Antichrist at "Armageddon." He will then establish His earthly kingdom and reign with His saints a thousand years. He will be the chief ruler, and each follower who has been faithful will be given cities to rule over in proportion to their faithfulness, just as the Lord promised in the parable of the pounds (Worthy is the Lamb, summarized from pages 28-31). To establish this doctrine Scriptures must be taken out of context, thus contradicting the thrust of the Bible in general and certain verses in particular. This interpretation counts most of the symbols in this book as literal (except expressions such as shortly come to pass).
EXPLANATION
The book of Revelation was written to comfort Christians concerning the things they would soon be enduring (persecution, torture, and death). For that reason (that these were things that were near, at hand, and would shortly come to pass), God was providing comfort for His people. When tragic things happen, He is not unaware; therefore, He tells them in advance what will happen. There are two facts of which they must remain certain: 1) they will be vindicated; and 2) those who oppose them (and therefore God) shall be punished. These two points may seem academic to us, but our lives are not (generally speaking) on the line. Faith is the victory, and the Lord want these brethren to have faith; hence, the purpose for the book of Revelation. The premillennial view makes no sense, if this purpose is kept in mind. What is logical is that the book predicts the downfall of Rome, the persecutor of the Christians.

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