Understanding the Book of Revelation Part One
The Book of Revelation is GodÂ’s masterpiece of literature. It is literally filled with breathtaking revelations of the future, and every one of them must be accepted as truth. Those prophesied events will occur; our God has guaranteed that. His entire reputation is on the line. He forbids us to add or extract a word because this is a covenant Â– a contract Â– between Himself and His chosen people. People that ignore the Book of Revelation are placing themselves in peril. ItÂ’s just that serious. While the church is the object of this book, the Father is careful to place His nation of Israel at strategic points that are carefully set apart from the church body. Our futures intermingle at some moments but remain separate at other times so that the distinctions are never lost.
There are five basic truths about this book that make it a perfect finish to the whole Bible Â– both Old and New Covenants. All sixty-five previous books of the Bible fit the pattern of this final testimony. God Himself planned the Bible and retained the finished product all settled in Heaven before Genesis was written. Our Father did not plan different books as He went along by directing and thinking up episodes. ItÂ’s all a master plan of our Creator from start to finish. ThatÂ’s why the whole Bible is complete with this final revelation. Remember, He said, Â“For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heavenÂ” (Psalm 119:89).
The five principles that you must follow to understand this great masterpiece are simple. Any person that will follow these instructions will soon be delighted with what they learn. First, this book is written in chronological order Â– nothing is out of place unless you move it. It starts with the Lord after His resurrection and progresses until He and His Father are dwelling with the eternal family in New Jerusalem. Do not try to move anything from its location or interject some historical past in the order of the book.
Second, study the types and symbols that fill this book and let the same symbols and types in the rest of the Bible interpret them for you. The four beasts of Revelation chapter four are clearly described in Ezekiel as living creatures or cherubim. They are great angelic beings that defend holiness in the earth at ChristÂ’s direction. The number Â“sevenÂ” is used forty-four times in this one book, but from Genesis 1:7 on, it is always the final amount of a perfect event, idea, or even a person. The phrase, Â“seven spirits,Â” represents the complete office, action, and person of the Holy Spirit.
The whole Bible is written to interpret itself, and every book is part of the whole. In the first chapter of my book, The Masterpiece, I show the unity of the Bible with the Book of Revelation as the model. The Garden of Eden is first seen in Genesis and lastly revealed perfectly restored in the Book of Revelation. All the judgments are talked about throughout the whole book, but revealed in final fulfillment in the Book of Revelation. Trying to understand this revelation apart from the entire Bible is destined to fail. Trying to deny the Book of Revelation and its End Time development is a disaster.
Fourth, the Book of Genesis must be accepted and believed exactly as it is written if you are going to believe the Book of Revelation. Those two books are the Alpha and Omega of the Bible. The Holy Ghost did not make a mistake. Creation, as revealed in Genesis, is a perfect rendering of GodÂ’s perfect created order. The FatherÂ’s warning to Satan that the seed of woman would bruise his head (to death) is perfectly fulfilled in the Book of Revelation. GodÂ’s desire to walk with Adam and Eve in His garden finds a beautiful ending and a perfect finish in the Book of Revelation.
Lastly, but of grave importance, the Book of Revelation is an exact literal book to be interpreted literally or not at all. Any effort to spiritualize or make this book an allegory is evil and the work of Satan. The Son of God makes the most undeniable statements to establish the truth declared in these pages, Â“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 handÂ” (Revelation 1:3). To John He declared, Â“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 hereafterÂ” (Revelation 4:1). Jesus and the book declared, Â“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord JesusÂ” (Revelation 22:20). That is not the language of an allegory neither is it a language you can spiritualize while denying the literal meaning.
These five principles are certainly planned facts that set this book apart from every book in the Bible. Every Word of Scripture is inerrant and true, but the Book of Revelation is the final book and must be read, studied, and believed, or the Bible is not complete in your life. The false doctrines that are sweeping the world would find little acceptance in a church world that had the Book of Revelation fully preached and believed. Doctrines like the denial of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, the denial of the Seven Years of Tribulation, or the thousand years of the reign of Christ on the Earth are not as plain anywhere else in the Bible as in this masterpiece of Biblical literature.
There is no question that our Heavenly Father and His Son planned the Bible perfectly. It is also clear that the Holy Spirit orchestrated it from Genesis to Revelation. It is an infallible Book, and it is complete in every detail. To live in the Bible is life, both spiritual life now and eternal life hereafter. Jesus Christ is both the living Word and the written Word revealed.
Joseph R. Chambers