Book of Revelation: Introduction
The Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation. What he wrote is the revelation of Jesus Christ, not revelations. There have been several views of how this book can be interpreted. Each view has its own interpretation. The author has chosen to interpret it from the "finished work of Jesus Christ" that He declared in John 19:30. This book is viewed in unity with all the books of the Bible as the mind of God; and can only be understood with spiritual understanding. The writing is with the belief that there is an unveiling of our true identity the Holy Spirit must show each of us. The eternal wisdom that God has for the body of Christ cannot be contained in one individual's understanding, yet, it will take the unity of the whole body for the Lord's return to be manifested.
The word "revelation" is singular, not plural. This is a key to understanding these scriptures. God gave the writing to John to disclose the unveiling of the divine mysteries throughout scripture (Ephesians 3:14-17). The author does not say this is a book about demonic power, terrorism, or eternal hell; nor is it about beastly creatures, Iraq, scud-missiles, or monsters. Revelation was not written to scare people into Christianity, but to bless them if they read it.
Acts 4:33 tells us when revelation knowledge is given; the unveiling of that revelation will bring forth great grace, loving-kindness, favor, and goodwill. John writes in the Book of Revelation 1:3 that you will be blessed, happy, and envied by reading, hearing, and keeping yourself true to the things which are written. He doesn't say you will be scared, beaten, judged, or condemned; but blessed to be envied. This is so that others will be drawn to the same revelation of Jesus Christ because of His love and mercy that they see in your life.
This is the only book in the Bible that tells you what the book is about in the first verse. However, to understand this book you must already know in your spirit that you have "ears to hear" what the Spirit of God says. If every verse had to be qualified for understanding it would be a process of dissecting the entire Bible to understand the one verse.
This book is an unveiling of Jesus Christ, THE WORD. It is known as the Apocalypse of the New Testament, which means to uncover something that is hidden. It has been there ALL through time, but the veiling of our natural understanding didn't allow us to see it.
There was no veil within the temple of God after Calvary. It was torn from top to bottom when Jesus hung on the cross (Luke 23:45). The veil we have to deal with today is our mind which has allowed religion to separate us from the ability to be in the Holy of Holies. Jesus told us over 2000 years ago that the work is finished; the Messiah has come (John 19:30). Religion tells us that it is not finished; we still have to deal with the body of Jesus (John 19:31). Today, religion is still trying to make sure the body of Jesus is dead (John 19:31), when according to Paul in Galatians 2:20 we died. Selah.
The primary work of the Holy Spirit in studying this book will be to remove the veil called the "hanging" that separated the middle and inner courts of the temple of God in the Old Testament. This veil is symbolic of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross. Today, it is our hanging, or our imagination, represented by cherubim that must be pulled back. This book reveals how we as priests are to be transformed into His image as High Priest. This is not a book about the saved and unsaved people on this earth, or who is escaping to heaven and who will be tormented in hell. As the Holy Spirit brings forth spiritual understanding we must come to the cross and hang our natural understanding allowing the Life of Christ in us to be resurrected and manifested through us.
Have you ever wondered, among all the followers of Jesus, why John was chosen to write the Book of Revelation? Several times in chapters two and three of this book John wrote that you must have "an ear to hear." He didn't write this to non-Christians, but to those who were believers in Christ. This book is about Jesus (the door). John was the one who had his ear nailed to the door by leaning on the breast of Jesus and hearing his heart (John 13:23, 21:20). It takes a bondservant that is willing to have his ear pierced to the door to have an ear to hear what the Spirit of God is revealing. A bondservant is a person who gives their life to serve Jesus Christ and ALL whom Jesus calls the family of God, not just those the church views as family. John knew when he wrote this book that Jesus died for the sins of the world allowing the Holy Spirit to draw ALL men to God so that God would be ALL in ALL.
In Chapter 1 verse one we read the words, "which must shortly come to pass." This is not just a futurist book, but also a book that shows us past, present, and future. The Alpha and the Omega, in verse 8 of this chapter, tells us; what has come, what will come, and what is now. The word NOW is an eternal word for it has no time. Understanding the revelation of Jesus Christ takes the future and the past and brings it into the now. The time is at hand (verse 1:3) is your hand. For some people, this book will stay in the content of shortly coming to pass, but for others that seek out for the veil to be removed completely, the time will be NOW.
In this same verse, we see the word "signified" which can be found in Strong's Concordance to mean: to give a sign, to express by signs and symbols. John tells us it is written in code. The rule of Hermeneutics taught in Bible schools, is that if you are going to interpret a set of scriptures you must stay consistent with your principles. If you started with literal interpretations then you must stay literal. If you interpret scripture spiritually, then you must continue with spiritual. You can't switch back and forth or the interpretations are disqualified. An illustration would be the interpretation of the "Lamb slain" in the Book of Revelation. It is usually accepted that John was talking about Jesus Christ, and not a literal lamb. Another example would be in Revelation 2:16 that says, "with the sword of my mouth." Most churches across America have no problem with this being symbolism of the word of God being spoken with power and authority, not a literal sword coming out of the mouth of Jesus.
The frustration comes when teachers don't continue with the same principle, but instead pick and choose which symbols they want to be spiritual and which they want to be literal. If the lamb is a symbol then we need to see the temple, the beast, the candlestick, etc. with the same Hermeneutical Principle, and not a building, a creature, or a tabletop decoration. John tells us in the beginning that he was in the spirit when these things were revealed to him. The things of the Spirit of God will seem as foolishness to the mind of natural man (I Corinthians 1:25). John was given spiritual truth about Jesus Christ using signs and symbols, and he clarified this in the first chapter. The rest of the book should also be interpreted with spiritual symbolism to stay consistent with this principle.
When Jesus talked with the religious leaders he used this same principle. He would use spiritual illustrations; unfortunately, they would apply literal meaning which caused misunderstanding in what he was saying. The illustration of the temple being destroyed and Jesus rebuilding it in 3 days is an example (John 2:19-21). They were looking at His words from an Old Covenant mindset, and He was speaking New Covenant. It wasn't only what Jesus said that upset the religious leaders, but what they thought he said. Jesus used events and ways of life in their culture to illustrate how the Old Testament scriptures and concepts are to be interpreted in the NOW. The types and shadows of the natural given to us in the Old Testament have been unveiled into a present Now with the revelation of Jesus Christ.
I want to reemphasize that the Book of Revelation is about Jesus Christ (period). It is not about Jesus, plus something else. The mystery that is revealed to John as he sees Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, is not to see a man, but to see Jesus who is the head, to be attached to the church, which is his body. We should be looking for His appearing in His body, which has many facets of color and radiance reflecting His glory. We must decide if Jesus died and rose from the grave for our spirit now and our soul and body later; or if we possess the fullness of whom He is today? If we believe a little now, and the rest when we get to heaven, we won't see the return of Jesus while in our natural body. Selah.
The word "revelation" means the disclosure of truth concerning things before known. This book was in existence before we knew of John's writings. God wrote it in our hearts before the foundation of the world, before Genesis 1:1. God gave us this book, but the understanding was concealed in the language of the Holy Spirit. Our minds became veiled when Adam became his own god instead of keeping unity with the family of God. When he ate the seed of his own words, he separated himself from the throne of God or the mercy seat. He was taken out of the inner court (garden) so that he would not be in a state of judgment and condemnation forever.
God knew that His love would draw ALL men back to Him (I Timothy 2: 4-5); so He kept a way open with a flaming sword, the Holy Spirit, guarded by Cherubim, or the natural mind of man. The Way is the Lamb, the Son of God, who was slain before the foundation of the world, but we could not understand any of this because it wasn't time. God wrote this book in our hearts a long time ago, and to each person He gave a time and season for both natural and spiritual growth to take place so that we would be united as one body in Jesus Christ. When God brings understanding to us in the Spirit we are not necessarily supposed to go out and try to convince everyone else. It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to be the teacher in each of us, so that God will be glorified and not us. Our job is to utilize our spiritual understanding to be a bond servant for Jesus Christ by seeing ALL men through His eyes that reflect unconditional love and forgiveness from the mercy seat of God. It is our inner most being where His Spirit communicates with our spirit, not our natural mind.
When we see each member of the body of Christ as complete in Him, the Spirit of God will bring the finished work of Jesus Christ found in the heavenly mind into our natural life. God's word is not a game of chance. What we see in our minds as truth forms our believing and "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). If our belief system is rooted in God's intended spiritual imagery, then life will result. Where we are rooted and receiving our nourishment from will determine how we grow, and whether we can boldly come to the throne of God while alive in our natural body. We know that God can cure headaches, cancer, major illnesses, etc., but can we dare to believe that it is possible for us to live eternally and not die physically like Enoch and Elijah did?
Do you see the return of Jesus Christ now, or someday? Are you really looking for His return with spiritual eyes, or natural? Are you seeing a body that Jesus can place His head on? Religion still tries to destroy the temple of God, (spirit, soul, and body), but Jesus raised it up in three days finishing it all as we are completed in Him at His resurrection. Now it is up to us to put all things under His feet (I Corinthians 15: 25-28).
God stood in front of the religious leaders and they didn't recognize Him. They thought they were crucifying a man. Would we recognize Him? If you are reading this, then I can say that He has already stood before you, probably many times. How many times have you crucified Him with the power of your words?
Those that want to be blessed in reading this book need to have their hearts prepared to cross over into the spirit realm while in their natural body. They are people that believe Galatians 2:20 and Ephesians 1:4 with their body, soul, and spirit. They desire an intimate relationship with the Lord, and they are willing to go beyond the boundaries of doctrine and religion to obtain it. They must be prepared for separation and division with the people they are close to, even loved ones if they are not pulled into the same calling that God has placed in them. The people that will be blessed from this book will be going through many trials, yet still have a voice praising God saying, "I surrender ALL, so that I may know you and the power of your resurrection while in my natural body, for it is in You that I live, and move, and am one in Christ Jesus."
I close this introduction with a devotional writing found in a book called, God Calling by A.J. Russell. On May 14th we read a message titled The Love of a Lover.
Remember that a loving Master delights in the intimacy of demands made, as much as He desires His followers and friends to delight in the tender intimacy of His demands.
The wonder of family life is expressed in the freedom with which a child makes demands and claims, quite as much
as in the loving demands the parent makes upon all the Love and Joy of the children. Only as the result of frequent converse with Me, of much prayer to Me, of listening to and obedience to My behests comes that intimacy that makes My followers dare to approach Me as friend to friend.
Yield in all things to My tender insistence but remember I yield too to yours. Ask not only the big things I have told you, but ask the little tender signs of Love, Remember that I came as the world's Great Lover. Never think of My Love as only a tender compassion and forgiveness. It is that, but it is also the Love of a Lover, who shows His love by countless words and actions and by tender thought.
In each of you too, remember there is God. That God I reverence and submit to, though I and My Father are one. So as man grows more and more like My Father in Heaven I bring to our friendship a reverent, tender Love. I see as no man can see the God in you.
It is always given to man to see in his fellow man those aspirations and qualities he himself possesses. So only I, being really God, can recognize the God in man. Remember this, too, in your relation to others.
Your motives and aspirations can only be understood by those who have attained the same spiritual level. So do not vainly, foolishly, expect from others understanding. Do not misjudge them for not giving it. Yours is a foreign language to them.
I pray this introduction will challenge you to want to study this book allowing the Holy Spirit to bring Life, Love, and Light of blessings into your NOW.