Revelation 1:1 says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.” The very word ‘Revelation’ comes from the Greek word ‘apokalupsis’. This word means ‘disclosure, appearing, manifestation, be revealed’. The book is not confusing, quite the opposite. As the name indicates, it is a revealing, a disclosure. Is the book ‘symbolic’? It is symbolic in many instances, but the events and persons in the book are very real.

Let’s consider Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” This book promises a blessing to those who read, hear, and keep its words. Its importance can’t be overstated. Because the Lord is able to tell us exactly about the “things which shall be”, this shows His sovereignty over the affairs of man. He knows what will happen and can authoritatively assure us that these events will occur according to His perfect will and according to His perfect timetable.

The book of Revelation is more than a book of prophesy. The Apostle John was told in Revelation 1:19, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” It was written for present day learning…“the things which are.” In verse 11 the Lord says to John, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto THE SEVEN CHURCHES WHICH ARE IN ASIA; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” So, this book is addressed to these “seven churches” (verse 4). In chapters 2-3, we have seven specific letters written to each of these churches. The characteristics of each of these churches, or church ages, are indicative of seven different time periods that are recognizable and represent the history of the church since its inception on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2. We are surely living in the last days and the last ‘church age’. Revelation 3:14 says, “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” The last letter was written to the Laodicians. Laodicea means “the people’s rights”. There has never been a time in history when people claim individual rights for the worst kinds of sinful behaviors. It is true that ungodly and sinful behavior have been around since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, but in our day sinful and deviant behavior is being declared ‘good’ and those who cleave to scriptural teachings are classified as hateful, intolerant, and accused of many ‘phobias’. I encourage you to read chapters 2-3 with an eye towards the history of the church. You will recognize that we are surely in the last of the last days.

Beginning with chapter 4, we do not read of the church on the earth again. We believe that indicates that after the Laodicean church age, the church is raptured into glory to be with the Lord. In fact, Revelation 4:1 says, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”

COME UP HITHER. This shout could very well be the event that we read of in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”

I WILL SHEW THEE THINGS WHICH MUST BE HEREAFTER. This shows that the book of Revelation at this point, turns from “the things which are” and shows us “the things which shall be hereafter.”

Is this book something we should “worry about?” Not for the believer. For those who are saved we have these words in Revelation 21:3-4, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” But for those who have not trusted Christ as their savior, we have these sad words in Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” How tragic! I trust that you have put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If not, I urge you to put your faith in Him NOW before it is eternally too late. (254.4)