Revelation – The New Testament Book of Prophecy
The New Testament (NT) book of Revelation is the culmination of the the many historical, doctrinal, and prophetic writings of the Bible. This last book of the NT is the consummation of biblical prophecy disclosing the future of the Jew, the Gentile, and the church of Christ. This great prophetic unfolding deals mainly with the events preceding the second coming of Christ, the establishment of the millennial kingdom, and, finally, the eternal state. The first book of the Bible, Genesis, is the launching point from which begins the journey of mankind through time. The book of Revelation is like a great airport at which the many doctrines and prophecies find their ultimate fulfillment in time and eternity.
The name of the book comes from Latin revelatio, “an unveiling”; Greek apokalypsis, “the removing of a veil.” It is thus a book written to be understood. The book is not correctly called the Revelation of the Apostle John. It is precisely “the Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1). That is, it is an unveiling of His future plan for the earth and for His redeemed saints both for time and eternity. It is necessary to view the book as in no sense sealed (Revelation 22:10; cf. Daniel 12:9). A distinct blessing is vouchsafed to the person that reads and to those who hear the words of this prophecy (Revelation 1:3). It is mere pious chatter to say that God does not intend this book to be understood or that the symbolism and figures of the prophecy are incomprehensible. The figures and symbols of the book, which furnish the basis of its interpretation, are found elsewhere in divine revelation and can only be understood in the light of coherent and connected comparative study of all other lines of prophecy and prophetic type and symbolism. Interpretation of the book demands a thorough acquaintance with all the other great prophecies that merge in this book, which is “like a great Union Station where the trunk lines of prophecy come in from other portions of Scripture” (J. Vernon McGee, Briefing the Bible , p. 122).
About a dozen great prophetic themes find their consummation in the book of the Revelation:
- The Lord Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15), whose present session (Revelation 3:21), future triumph over evil, redemption of the earth, destruction of the ungodly, and establishment of His earthly kingdom are consummated at His second advent (Revelation 4:1-19:16). Christ’s kingdom rule and His ministry in the eternal state (Revelation 21-22) constitute the grand fulfillment of all prophecy.
- The church, the Body of Christ (Matthew 16:18; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Revelation 2-3).
- The resurrection and translation of saints (Revelation 4:1-2).
- The Great Tribulation (Deuteronomy 4:29-30; Jeremiah 30:5-8; Revelation 4-19).
- Satan and demon power (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:11-18; Revelation 12:7-12; Revelation 16:13; Revelation 20:1; etc.).
- The man of lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:1-8; Revelation 13:1-10).
- The false prophet (Revelation 13:11-18).
- Destruction of Gentile world power (Daniel 2:31-45; Revelation 5-19).
- The redemption of the earth (Revelation 5) with the loosing of the seals, trumpets, and bowls (Revelation 6-19).
- The second advent of Christ (Revelation 19:1-10).
- The judgment of sinners (Revelation 20:11-15).
- The first resurrection and the Kingdom age (Revelation 20:4-6).
- The new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21).
- The eternal state (Revelation 22).
(Information Sources: Dr. McGee’s Thru the Bible Commentary and The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary)
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