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Bobby Stafford Introduction to Revelation       Revelation

Introduction to Revelation

Lesson 1


The Book of Revelation has often been neglected because many think it is too difficult to understand.  No doubt this book has been abused and misused to promote several unscriptural beliefs.  Yet there is a blessing pronounced on all those who read, hear, and keep the words of it.  (Revelation 1:3)  So it is certainly worth all our efforts in studying its pages. 


I.  Background 

A.  Title: Revelation – to uncover, reveal

  The Greek word is “Apocalypse.”

B.  Author: John (Revelation 1:1)  Both the internal evidence and

  external evidence point to the apostle John who also wrote the

  Gospel of John and I John, II John, and III John.

  C.  Recipients: Specifically to the churches located in the provinces of

  Asia (modern Turkey).  These seven congregations were located in

  an area where Roman Emperor worship was very strong.

D.  Time of Writing: Most of the evidence points to around 96 A.D. 

II.  Purpose of Writing 

·  Christians were undergoing terrible persecution because of their faith.  (Revelation 2:10)  Some were being martyred.  (Revelation 16:5-6)

·  This book was written to comfort them and give them hope.  (Revelation 17:14)  They were encouraged to be steadfast.

·  The purpose and meaning of this book can only be ascertained if we “look through first-century glasses.”  W. B. West 

III.  How to Study 

·  Revelation is a book of symbols.  (Revelation 1:1)  Therefore, it is filled with figurative language.  It is imperative to keep the context in mind when interpreting figurative language.  The Bible is its own best interpreter.

·  There are at least four different views or interpretations of Revelation:

1.  The Futurist View  This view believes that most of the book is unfulfilled and refers primarily to the end of time.  Futurists believe Christ will return to earth for a thousand year reign from Jerusalem.  They also believe in the “rapture,” the “tribulation” and a literal battle of Armageddon.  This view disregards two very important points.  First, John wrote in Revelation 1:1-3 that these “things would shortly begin to take place” and “the time is at hand.”  Second, this interpretation takes meaning away from the original recipients.  They would not be encouraged or comforted by this view.

2.  The Preteritist View  This interpretation basically says most all of the book was fulfilled by 70 A.D.  Many of the symbols and signs, they believe, are applied to the fall of Judaism and the destruction of Jerusalem.  For this view to be true, the book had to by written before 70 A.D.; but the majority of the evidence dates the book near the end of the first century.

3.  The Historical View  This view says the book is like a timeline of history that refers to the rise and fall of nations and empires as well as different religious movements.  This view would also not be very comforting to first-century Christians.

4.  The Contextual (Historical First Century) View  This view asks the question – “What did this book mean to those in the first century?”  Revelation deals with the trials and sufferings faced by these seven churches.  It also encourages them to “be faithful until death” and victory will be theirs. 

Bobby Stafford


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