Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12

Chapter 1 The Beginning of Rules in Revelation

What sets this book of Revelation apart from thousands of other books? Number one, this book is not written to reveal anything about Revelation or any type of future prophecies. On the contrary, the Book of Revelation reveals the meaning of the visions John saw, the symbols God uses, and the timeline recorded in Revelation. The Book of Revelation is designed so we see exactly how John’s book explains each and every detail. It is not my intent to guess at any prophecy or insist I have any type of special gift available to a select few people. I do not rely on the world to fill in the blanks people claim the Book of Revelation has. John’s book has no blank sections. John recorded exactly what he was told to record in the order Jesus provided the information.

Within Revelation is a series of lessons showing us how to read and study the book. As well as other books in the Bible. One of the most important rules is to gather all the information on a particular subject. When chapter one is combined with chapters two and three, that rule is evident. The remainder of Revelation further verifies that rule.

Revelation Bible StudyMy intent is to go through the Book of Revelation from cover to cover showing how John’s book reveals a few easy to use study rules that must be followed. The entire Book of Revelation was inspired from Heaven. Jesus wrote the entire book and placed special instructions throughout the book. In fact, those same instructions and rules are found throughout the Bible.

One of the first rules we want to test is, the rule of introductions and summaries. The first few sentences in a chapter or book sets the theme for that chapter and of course introduces the main idea. What do we find in the first few sentences in Revelation?

Revelation 1:1-3 NLTse This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, (2) who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. (3) God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.

Like many other books in the Bible, John sets the tone for an inspired manuscript by explaining how he received this message and who gave him that message. In this case the message was given to John by Jesus. This should peak our interest. Jesus pointed out one important detail at the beginning of His message. “God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.”

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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We have to first READ the Book of Revelation. Jesus described the Book of Revelation as one long message. No where in Revelation does Jesus tell anyone to separate or segregate one prophecy in Revelation from the others. The timeline in Revelation is very important. Without the other prophecies, the timeline is lost. That is one thing that causes most of the problems we see in modern day interpretations. The world has adopted a study method not found or explained in the Book of Revelation or anywhere else in the Bible. The art of taking one or two sentences out of the Bible and running to the news media in this world, or any other source originating in this world is a man made study rule. It is a rule designed with no rules at all. Taking one or two sentences out of scripture and using the world to interpret that passage is a free for all, no holds barred form of Bible Study. In this book we will take the Book of Revelation step by step to see how Jesus explained sound study methods. After all Jesus, “blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says.”

One of the first things you want to do when you begin studying anything in the Bible is to look at the introduction. We already saw why that is important. Now we can look at the last few lines in Revelation chapter 1 to see what details Jesus added to His opening message.

Revelation 1:17-20 NLTse (17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. (18) I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. (19) “Write down what you have seen–both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. (20) This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Jesus introduced Himself to John by using a few symbols. This is important. When we see Jesus using symbols to introduce and describe Himself, we know how Jesus set the tone for the entire book of Revelation. Jesus introduced symbols. Jesus knows how to use those symbols, and Jesus knows how to explain what those symbols mean. In short, Jesus is the source of those symbols, and the only reliable source who can explain the meaning of each and every symbol in Revelation. Going outside that source is turning your back on Jesus. Going to other sources can be compared to idol worship. Even relying on yourself crosses the line Jesus established in His conversation with John.

Jesus explained exactly what those seven stars, angels, and lampstands represent. Jesus is the author of Revelation. The author chooses which symbols they will use, and what those symbols represent. No one else in the world can over ride the author. And in this case, the Author of Revelation is the One who will decide the final outcome of the judgment process. When we put the introduction together with the information found at the end of the chapter, we can see the warnings involved. Along with those warnings, we see specific instructions designed to keep us inline with the wishes of the Author. Jesus wants us to understand every detail in Revelation. And Jesus established the foundation of that understanding.

If we were to turn the page, we would see how the end of chapter 1 introduced the subject matter in chapter 2. That tells us, Revelation was written much like any other novel. You would never skip a chapter in a novel that interests you. So why skip chapters in Revelation?

At this point we are going jump to the very end of Revelation to see how it parallels the summation in chapter 1.

Revelation 22:18-21 NLTse (18) And I solemnly declare to everyone who hears the words of prophecy written in this book: If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God will add to that person the plagues described in this book. (19) And if anyone removes any of the words from this book of prophecy, God will remove that person’s share in the tree of life and in the holy city that are described in this book. (20) He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! (21) May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.

By design the warning at the end of the book echos the information at the beginning of the book. “God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” The introduction to Revelation contains the blessing. The end of Revelation contains the curses. Put the two together and we see how the first few and last few sentences create book stand to hold the entire book together. The warning in Revelation is obvious to most people. But its spiritual meaning is lost without the blessing. Without the blessing, what do we have?

Parallels in Revelation: Chapters 1-12
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The blessing establishes the Christlike attitude we need to approach the Book of Revelation as well as share the information revealed. When we put Jesus in the center of our studies, we can’t loose. We may not have everything revealed to us on the first, second, or even twelfth attempt. But we will continue to see details we missed. That is one way Jesus keeps us humble. Don’t forget, Revelation is an inspired book and we have to accept lessons designed for personal, spiritual growth.

We don’t want to skip over any details in Revelation chapter 1. This chapter sets the ground work of understanding. Jesus told us, this book is designed for those in His church to read and understand.

Revelation 1:4-6 NLTse This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; (5) and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. (6) He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

When we see the word, Amen, that tells us, this is a good place to stop, go back, and review the information presented. We see how John introduced himself as the messenger. The one who penned the inspired words. We see how John introduced Jesus using a series of symbols. It may seem rather strange to see how Jesus used those same symbols at the end of the chapter to describe Himself. We have to look at a number of reasons why chapter 1 used that particular pattern.

The Bible uses something referred to as repetition. Certain words or phrases are repeated to attract the readers attention. In most cases, those words and phases carry a spiritual meaning the casual reader will miss. It may seem rather strange for John to introduce Jesus with a set of symbols, then to see Jesus repeat that same series of symbols. Jesus is establishing a few general rules here. Jesus knows the meaning of each and every symbol. In this particular example, Jesus is using John to show us how He is able to meet and work with us on whatever level we are on. Yes there are different levels of learning. There are different levels of spiritual awareness. It wasn’t by accident that Jesus used spiritual symbols to emphasis that point. We know it is an important point based on the fact we see those words and phrases repeated. So remember, the author repeats words and phrases to catch our attention. At that point we have no other choice than to review the information so we do not miss its spiritual meaning.

We also saw how we had to gather all the information in the chapter before the spiritual meaning was unlocked. Collecting all the information on a subject is another important rule we need to follow.

We have the opportunity to collect information. The kingdom of priests is a phrase used in only a few stories in the Bible. The first time it was mentioned was a short time after God freed Israel from the slavery in Egypt.

Exodus 19:3-6 NLTse Then Moses climbed the mountain to appear before God. The LORD called to him from the mountain and said, “Give these instructions to the family of Jacob; announce it to the descendants of Israel: (4) ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. (5) Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me. (6) And you will be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation.’ This is the message you must give to the people of Israel.”

Of course Israel instantly accepted the invitation. But after hearing the Ten Commandment, most of the Israelites changed their mind. They told Moses to talk to God and fill them in on the details.

We just leaned another valuable lesson. The term, kingdom of priests led us to another story with a vital connection. Jesus asks us to follow His commands as a condition to understanding the message. When we look at the original offer to becomes God’s kingdom of priests, we can’t help but notice the Ten Commandments. A link no one in their right mind could deny.

That’s exactly what we are looking for. Links in the Bible that explain the spiritual meaning of the message at hand. What is a priest dedicated to God? The Bible tells us, it is a person who keeps God’s commandments. That is one clue. Of course some people will argue, that is only for the Old Testament people. Is it? We can look at a few additional facts from the Bible.

1 Peter 2:5-10 NLTse And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. (6) As the Scriptures say, “I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” (7) Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him, “The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” (8) And, “He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. (9) But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. (10) “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”

Peter tied in God’s holy priesthood with the spiritual temple designed with Christ as the corner stone. Once we examine the link between these books, we can’t help but find how one story explains the other. Some people find it difficult to explain what that spiritual temple is. When we look at what Peter explained, and what Christ added in Revelation, there is no other definition than God’s people who take up the priesthood originally offered when God took Israel out of Egypt.

Some churches have long drawn out rules and regulations describing what they think a priest is, who can be a priest, and other aspects about priests and pastors they claim are Biblical. The fact of the matter is, Peter described a priest as a part of that spiritual temple. Jesus described that priesthood as anyone who reads and understand His message in Revelation. That can be a can of worms in modern Christianity. Almost every church claims they can read, understand, and interpret Revelation. Many churches claim their powers of interpretation prove they are some type of chosen or special church. Some claim to be the only true church. Many of those claims are centered on the Book of Revelation. Those claims are based on a few select lines in Revelation. When we look at those sentences as they were recorded, and where they lead us, we see quite a different story.

Some of the most popular priests or pastors today host television shows that concentrate on Revelation and prophecy. Week after week they make predictions. Week after week they prove their spiritual connection with Jesus is false and misleading. Their predictions rarely come true. Or as so vague, they hold little water. When we look at the kingdom of priests Jesus, Moses, and Peter described, we see the Biblical meaning of a priest. Which of course is far different than the earthly definition. The same is true for the majority of visions, symbols, and prophecies taken from Revelation and interpreted using any other method than those described in the Bible.

Based on the fact most churches boast about their knowledge of Revelation, no one can argue the fact, Jesus’ priests are those who read and understand His message. There is no other source of training required outside the Bible. With that in mind, we will continue to look at Revelation chapter 1.

Revelation 1:7-8 NLTse Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him– even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen! (8) “I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.”

John took a giant leap from his time to Jesus’ return. John must have jumped ahead for a reason. Remember how we jumped ahead to look at the last few sentences in Revelation? We followed a study rule. Look what we found. Now we find John sending us to the last chapter in Revelation. See how those connections exist inside scripture? We have a guide in Jesus’ Spirit. What more do we need?

Revelation 1:9-11 MKJV I, John, who also am your brother and companion in the affliction, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the island that is called Patmos, for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (10) I came to be in the Spirit in the Lord’s day and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, (11) saying, I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last. Also, What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

Jesus being the first and last, the Alpha and Omega repeat throughout the first chapter. We can’t ignore that fact. We have to put that information in its place. Jesus is the Teacher. He is the first and last source of information for us to rely on. We don’t need any other source of information. We also see how this letter was to go out to the frontier of the Christian world. There is a lesson is that. We still have Christian frontiers.

The testimony of Christ is another phrase we have to look up. It is mentioned in a couple of stories in Revelation. This gives us the opportunity to look at other parts of the story, put the details together, and see what they say.

Revelation 6:9-11 MKJV And when He had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the Word of God, and for the testimony which they held. (10) And they cried with a loud voice, saying, Until when, Master, holy and true, do You not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth? (11) And white robes were given to each one of them. And it was said to them that they should rest yet for a little time, until both their fellow servants and their brothers (those about to be killed as they were ) should have their number made complete.

When we read the description of the fifth seal, we see the price may be rather high. Following the testimonies of Jesus, which is described as reading and understanding His message is not going to be a bed of roses, or an easy road to travel. If we were merely reading Revelation, it would have taken us five more chapters before we got to that part of the message. Collecting all the information on what Jesus’ testimony is took us directly to that information.

Revelation 12:15-17 MKJV (15) And the serpent cast out of his mouth water like a flood after the woman, so that he might cause her to be carried away by the river. (16) And the earth helped the woman. And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth. (17) And the dragon was enraged over the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Here John once again tied in God’s commandments with Jesus’ testimony. None of us made that connection a second time. Jesus the Author did. Again we see how rough the road is. We also see who is responsible for adding all those bumps and pot holes in the road. We also see why the devil is angry. He tried to kill the baby Jesus. Satan is angry because he failed. So Satan took that anger and focused it on the people who continued to follow Jesus.

Revelation 19:7-10 MKJV (7) Let us be glad and rejoice and we will give glory to Him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself. (8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. For the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints. (9) And he said to me, Write, Blessed are those who have been called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God. (10) And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said to me, See, do not do it! I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Of course Jesus is going to describe the benefits in store for those who follow His Word. The road may be rough, but the destination is well worth the journey. Jesus doesn’t hide anything. He gives us the good news, and the warnings. Jesus tells us how rough the journey is going to be before He explains the benefits.

What is that prophecy John is trying to explain here? When people take that one line out of the story, they tend to drift off in different directions. In most cases they attempt to link that one line about Jesus’ testimony and prophecy to their church, and the advanced knowledge they claim to have. Thus far we have seen no evidence to support such a claim. On the contrary, we have written evidence telling us, Jesus’ church is made up of those who accept the role of priest with full knowledge of the pitfalls and benefits. There is no mention of weekly paychecks, degrees, retirement funds, collecting funds, and the other roles mankind has attached to the priesthood. You won’t find those roles in Revelation because that was never part of Jesus’ message.

On the other hand, understanding this letter is a part of Jesus’ promise, and a part of the benefit package. Not the way the world understands, or tries to explain John’s book. but the way Jesus designed Revelation to be explained and understood. The more we study Revelation, the more will will see and understand that difference.

Revelation of Jesus Revelation 1

This chapter takes a look at Revelation chapter 1. What makes this book unique is the fact it will show you how Revelation actually teaches you how to understand the book and every prophecy and vision in the Bible. The Book of Revelation begins as a training manual. Nothing more and nothing less. The question is, why have those instructions been hidden from this generation?

Revelation 1:1-9 NLTse This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, (2) who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. (3) God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near. (4) This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; (5) and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. (6) He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen. (7) Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him– even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen! (8) “I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.” (9) I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus.

Well here we are, 224 chapters into this series of books, and I haven’t covered one third of what was written about the temple. I thought it was a good idea to skip over other portions of the temple to jump into the Heavenly Sanctuary. I was surprised to find so little written about the Heavenly Sanctuary. Most of the Old Testament looked at the Sanctuary as a place of safety, a place to meet God, a place they were able to enter in their time, and a place we should be able to gather for true worship. The Sanctuary is a place we need to go to get information, the next message, warnings about false messages, false Christs, and what this world is doing to drive a wedge between us and God’s throne.

The book of Hebrews tells us how Jesus already fought and won the battle. Now its just a matter of clinging onto the new promises, and walking through that vail that used to separate symbols from reality. The disciples didn’t understand prophecy as it was unfolding in front of their eyes. They had to wait until a good portion of it was fulfilled before Jesus could sit them down and explain exactly what happened. What are we supposed to learn from that experience?

Today we live in what is referred to as an advanced society. We have larger, fancier homes with electricity, lights, computers, we drive faster cars, we can fly around the world, we have computers, smart phones, all sorts of ways to communicate, find, copy and paste information, make videos, and all kinds of other stuff to make us smarter then those disciples who relied on fish and sheep to eat, make a living, and had to walk from one place to another to get anything done. The question I have, what does all the garbage today have to do with understanding prophecy? To some people, technology is the key to understanding prophecy, like God gave us the news media to replace the Holy Spirit, and a vague understanding of a few choice bits of scripture to replace long hours reviewing what has been recorded over generations.

For some reason Jesus quoted scripture. Some times He quoted scripture a lot. At times, Jesus sent priests, Pharisees, and others back to the prophecy He was fulfilling in front of their eyes. Did they look at those prophecies? Some of them did. Not relying on your memory was such a strange thing back in those days, it made people look like idiots, as if they didn’t put in enough time to memorize the important points, or didn’t understand every detail when they read it the first six times. Going back to scripture and reading it in the light Jesus provided that day was looked upon as a sign of weakness. Reviewing scripture was looked at as such a curse. Those who did review it were afraid to discuss what they learned with the other priests and Pharisees. They stood silent as more prophecies were fulfilled, not knowing what to do, or how to react.

The world today is not much different. People claim to posses some superior knowledge of scripture. A whole bunch of people want to be just like the Pharisees. They want to be rock stars of prophecy. They want to come up with quick one line answers, standing above the wisdom of the world like a shining star leading the way. The way to what? The biggest house, fanciest car, a larger screen to project some Power Point project used as a teaching tool. What has the world ever gained from quick, one line prophetic guesses? It should have gained the knowledge, people using that formless method of study have all been wrong. They’ve been wrong thousands of times, and if they continue on their chosen course, are going to make thousands of more mistakes. Why does the world still follow them?

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation
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It will take about a minute to look at the Internet and find dozens of people claiming this prophecy, or that prophecy is being fulfilled today. Most cannot point to a specific prophecy, its just that the news has something about a war some place in this world, and people know there is a prophecy about wars somewhere in the Bible, so the world must be reaching an end. Using the same study methods the priests and Pharisees used to kill Jesus, people think the technology they have at their fingertips is somehow going to make their guesses come true. In all that mayhem, where is God’s Spirit? No one knows. No one cares. Our technology will provide answers we need, when we need them. Somehow the tax dollars we pay and wisdom of our elected officials will save the day.

That’s another one of those prophecies floating around the Internet today. People claim leaders of all kinds of different levels are in the Bible in some symbolic form, and this leader, or that leader has a master plan to take over the world. Their plans are so secret, but somehow, mister average Joe working in his underwear on his laptop was shown details of those top secret plans. He can’t explain any details from those plans, how he obtained the information, but part of the world believes him. He posts something on an Internet site, works with a broker to place ads on the side, and somehow makes $10,000 a week from Internet advertising. That is what prophecy has turned into today, a money making machine. Think about is, sheep used to be dollars on the hoof. Today sheep are behind laptops and smart phones looking for easier ways to understand prophecy, and the wolves are waiting for the sheep to come to them.

Ask those people what study method they used to put their study together. You won’t get an answer. They look at a symbol in scripture, then just know that symbol points to this person, or that person. They got those symbols wrong a hundred times in the past, but that doesn’t slow down the next guess, nor the income their next guess will produce. If you can’t see the parallel between those Internet vultures and the priests who killed Jesus, allow me to spell it out for you. MONEY.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet a guy with a few PhD’s in Bible Study. He was smart enough to show me a few ways to study scripture. Only a few. He was smart enough to know, if I studied with the Spirit, the Spirit would show me other ways to study scripture, other methods, other patterns used in the Bible from the front cover to the back cover. And that’s exactly what happened. Spend some time in the Bible with the Spirit, and He will show you details no one can argue with. The Spirit will show you how the Bible is designed to protect you from all those false teachers. The Bible is designed to show you how to tell false prophets from real prophets.

There is one thing about the Bible that makes it the Bible. When God has a prophecy recorded, He also has the fulfillment recorded. When I ran across that study method, I found out what parallel chapters are. It was all so simple, I wondered why no one ever showed it to me before. Parallel chapters are rather easy to figure out when you know a few basic rules of context. The rule of repetition tells us to pay attention to words the author repeated. We call them key words, that can be the same, similar, and related. Contrasting words can also be related. The other important rule to know is the rule of introductions and summations. The first few verses of every chapter in the Bible tell us the main theme in that chapter. The last few verse summarize the main theme.


 

Common sense tells us, the prophecy and its recorded fulfillment have to cover the same subject, therefore, they must contain the same key words, which can be the same, similar, or related. In some instances, but not many, they can be contrasts. Key words help us search for the prophecy and its recorded fulfillment. We may come up with a variety of choices. How do you find the right one? That’s where introductions and summations come in. When the prophecy and its fulfillment cover the same subject, the introductions and summations in the two chapters will agree, making them parallel chapters. It is that simple.

When people interpret prophecies using news media, their own knowledge, something they heard or read on the Internet, in a seminar, or using history books, anything outside of the Bible, it is impossible for them to establish the link between the prophecy and the fulfillment God recorded. They can guess a thousand times and never come up with the right answer because they are not studying with the Spirit. They cannot, or do not want to explain the process they used to formulate their opinion, and know, few people will ask them to explain the methods they used.

When we look at the introduction to the Book of Revelation, we see how John immediately identified the source of his information. John received his information directly from Jesus Christ. John eliminated all doubt by following the laws of the prophets, which is, explain how you received the message.

John also followed another law of the prophets by explaining why the message was given, “to show his servants the events that must soon take place.” John then identified an angel as the form of communication God chose to use to deliver this message. Daniel’s book is a guide telling us the major forms of communication God uses. Among them are, dreams, visions, angels, prayer, daily events, and of course, scripture.

John also identified who the message is for, and important detail when we begin a study. When we study the physical aspects, we are better able to see the spiritual implications, then understand how they apply to us, which is another study process we can follow.

John tells us, we’re supposed to be a kingdom of priests, a reminder the Levitical priesthood is dead, and Jesus is now the head of a new priesthood. We can’t go mixing old ways with new ways. We can’t take the old Levitical priesthood, take out a few interesting points, and fabricate a new religion out of it. Our instructions, orders, messages, and training all come from Christ. If John knew of another plan, he would have recorded it in Revelation, or in another one of his books.

John also did something unusual, John gave us a description of Jesus, then later broke it down into sections, adding one part of that description to letters written to the seven churches. In essence, John was told to record one Bible Study method. Take all the information on a subject, put it all together, and study it as a whole. When one piece is missing, you’ll find it difficult to understand. When it all comes together, the understanding will flow.

We can take the descriptions of Jesus placed in the seven messages to the churches, put them together and see a much better view of Jesus than any single one can provide. A casual reading of Revelation may miss many details like that. If people know a few basic study techniques, those details should stand out, or at least ring a bell. We should ask why God used a writing style like that. The obvious answer is, so we can show people, basic study techniques are actually in scripture, and we don’t need other sources to teach. God included everything we need in the Bible.

God must have seen the study techniques people made up and like to use. Take out one line, and make up a story about it. Isn’t that what most of the world does? So Jesus had John record a number of details about Himself in one place, then broke them up into sections at the beginning of the book so we knew how the rest of the book was written, and how to understand it.

None of the prophecies in Revelation contain a complete description of what is going to happen. Some details for an event are scattered here and there. The more details we gather, the better picture we get. The more we are able to explain to people. Some people follow that general rule of Bible Study, but way too many people want to show off like those priests and Pharisees. Show them one piece of a puzzle, and they want to show off by explaining every detail. Challenge their wisdom and watch out. The only other parts of the Bible they have memorized is a few choice lines about false prophets they shoot out at anyone who doesn’t agree with them.

I for one feel much more secure when someone can show me a study method used in the Bible. There are dozens of them found in the Bible. Jesus taught using a series of parables. The parables He used in one day were all related. Some times Jesus used simple symbols like grass, seeds, or crops to show all those parables were linked together. Each parable had a few pieces of information. When we put them all together, we get a much better understanding of the lesson Jesus taught that day. Separate them, and we are generally left with the impression one person received from one parable. It may sound good. It may make sense, and have something to do with the other stories a teacher decided to mix in, but more often than not, teach a lesson about this world when Jesus was teaching a spiritual lesson about Heaven, life in Heaven, His ministry, or another subject not really related to what a modern day teacher wants to imply.

Jesus used that method of teaching, using parables with related symbols to teach another lesson about Bible Study. Stories in the Bible are related to one another. You cannot understand the physical aspects of one story without reviewing the previous story, which lead into whatever story you are studying. Back ground is very important. It is also important to know what actions and decisions led to the situation at hand. That may sound like common sense, but how many people follow that general rule of Bible Study?

In the Bible, that general rule of looking back also applies to all the books in the Bible. Look at Revelation chapter 1 for example. See how the end of the previous book sets your mind in order to begin a proper study on Revelation.

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen. (Jude 1:20-25 NLTse).

Jude is like a brief description of Revelation. The end of Jude tells us, this is about more than ourselves. This is a matter of life and death. Jude also reminds us of the Holy Spirit’s part in this warfare here on earth. Jude also sets our mind on the concern Jesus has for this planet, thereby explaining why Jesus sent an angel to John with enough information to fill a book.

The first chapter of Revelation also introduced the concept of prophetic timing, a subject few people want to try to explain. Not because they don’t understand it, but because proper prophetic timing will not allow people to do what they do best, take prophecies out of sequence. Whenever people are allowed to take prophecies out of sequence, they can apply a line here, and another line there, whenever the need arises. Let’s get serious. There are a handful of people making a very good living out of taking one or two lines out of scripture, playing a few seconds of a news event, and telling people it is prophecy being fulfilled. We want to learn to avoid people like that and not get caught up in the confusion they create. That is the main reason God decided to include solid Bible Study methods in books like Revelation. Timing is another one of those rules.

Lord’s Day

Revelation 1:10-20 NLTse (10) It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. (11) It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” (12) When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. (13) And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. (14) His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. (15) His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. (16) He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. (17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. (18) I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. (19) “Write down what you have seen–both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. (20) This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

The beginning of Revelation tells us exactly where the information in this book came from, directly from Jesus in Heaven. That is one of the most important details at the beginning of every chapter in Revelation, as well as the beginning of every prophecy in the Bible. Every prophet identified where and how they received the message. That is one of the many safety features God installed in the Bible. At times authors tell us messages are from false prophets, kings made decisions without praying, asked counselors, or received advice from other sources. As we proceed through those stories, we are given the opportunity to see how each event turned out. This created a series of contracts to learn from. We can put together a series of events when people followed God’s orders, and see how it turned out. Then we can compare those results to see how decisions without praying turned out. We can also see how reliable those counselors and false prophets were.

When we get to timing in Revelation chapter one, John kept the lesson rather simple. Jesus is the First and Last. He has been around a lot longer than any of us, has seen a lot more, has generations of experience, and will be around a lot longer than many of us. In other words, Jesus should be our only reliable source of information.

John also tells us, this book contains information on events from the past and the future. Some events were happening, or some prophecies were being fulfilled in John’s time. How do we tell which prophecies have been fulfilled, which were being fulfilled in John’s day, which were fulfilled after John, and which prophecies are we waiting to be fulfilled? This can get very confusing if we didn’t have a timeline. A timeline needs a base point, or point to begin. A type of foundation to build on. From there we have to look at key words in the Bible God placed there to indicate a series of events following a particular order. This happens, then that happens, this follows, and finally we see this event. That sequence is achieved using simple words. The KJV generally used the word, “and,” to show a sequence of events.

Rev 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

Rev 5:2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

Rev 5:3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.

Rev 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

Rev 5:5 And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Rev 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Rev 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

Each verse begins with the word, “And,” showing a simple sequence of events. John saw a book. John had to notice that book before the next event could take place. After John noticed the book, an angel asked who could open it. The question had to be asked before moving onto the next event. No one in Heaven or earth was able to open that book. That fact had to be established before moving onto the next event. One of the elders told John about a Lion from the Root of David. Jesus was first introduced as a Lion, before appearing as a Lamb. Each event had to follow that particular order. Each event is identified by the word, “And,” which is commonly known as a linking word, tying all those events together.

People tend to disagree with the timing in Revelation. They want to ignore those linking words that tie events together in the order Jesus said they have to occur. That is one of the most important details in the Bible, and one of the most ignored details in scripture. Why? I’m not sure. I look at those linking words and find it easy to follow prophetic timing. There is no excuse to be confused. Each event is recorded in perfect order, just the way Jesus said they will occur, key words link them all together, and anyone can follow the simple order. But people insist Revelation is a book of mystery, and they have to put prophecies in the right order. What order? People tend to look at the world for guidance on the sequence of events recorded in Revelation. People prefer to have earth’s history dictate prophetic timing. That is the way of the world. Where does that come from? The world – not from Heaven. Which source are you going to trust?

Modern Bible translators saw how Revelation told about one event, the next event, so on, and so forth. Many of them took the word, “and,” used in the KJV, and changed it to the word, “then.” The original Greek word can be translated either way.

John tells us, he was praying when the message began. This is an important point to consider. Will God approach us with a message, do we have to first approach God, or does it work both ways? Communicating with God is another subject we have to be aware of in scripture, and we should be studying.

John was told to write a book. Not just deliver a message, but write a book. Notice how Jesus told John how to deliver the message. That is another feature we need to pay attention to. Whenever we receive messages from Heaven, we are told who to share it with, and how to share it. This is another safety feature God uses. Often people create their own message, determine who to deliver it to, how, and when to deliver it. Where is the Spirit in their message? Taking a few words out of scripture does not make it a message from Heaven. Priests and Pharisees took a few lines out of scripture. Did that make every one of their messages a message from Heaven? The devil took out a few sentences from scripture and used them to try and trick Jesus. Did the devil’s message come from Heaven, or his own imagination? Just because someone takes a few sentences out of scripture does not make it an inspired message.

People often want to focus on symbols, especially in books like Revelation. The Bible has a general rule about symbols. Typically symbols are identified and explained in the story they are found in, more often than not in the same chapter like here. The seven candlesticks represent the seven churches, and the seven stars are seven angels. This rule of interpretation was recorded in the first chapter to teach us how symbols are defined, and this rule applies not only to the entire book of Revelation, but the entire Bible.

Jesus is seen standing among those candlesticks, which shows His relationship with those churches. Jesus has to travel from one church to the next, hence the need for an angel to go to each church, which shows Jesus’ concern and the protection He offers. When Jesus was arrested, He reminded everyone, all He had to do is say one word and legions of angels would be sent to protect Him.

Jesus is wearing a long robe. Is this His robe of righteous or another rode. The only clue we are given is, the robe is covered by a golden sash across His chest. Is the gold significant or the chest it covered? We could look at what gold represents, but would gold represent the same thing here as it does in other stories? The fact is, John is seeing a vision of Jesus in Heaven. If we take an interpretation for what gold represented in a story taking place on earth, would it be the same?

Jesus’ head is white like wool. What does white hair normally represent? Old age here on earth. White hair may also represent age, experience, and wisdom. Let’s put ourselves in John’s shoes for a moment. John saw Jesus a few years ago. Could Jesus have aged that quickly in Heaven, or did Jesus take on a form He exhibited before He came to this world to be born, live, grow, and die?

What did John think when He saw the one he lived with white hair? Did John think, things happening here on earth gave Jesus white hair? Did that white hair instill a spot of concern in John? We have to admit, John wrote words he was inspired to write, and left out his personal ideas about the views he witnessed.

Jesus’ eyes were like flames of fire. What did John think? Eyes normally are a key to identify people. When their eye color changes, that is something people are sure to notice. It was one of the details John noticed and recorded.

Eyes of fire may make people think, Jesus has something to get excited about. Something wasn’t right. But at that time, Jesus had a number of people doing the best they could with what they had, and what they understood. Or were they? How was the world accepting the message, and how was the enemy trying to rewrite the message? Was anyone getting the message right?

Jesus feet were like polished bronze. Bronze usually represents bondage, like when Nebuchadnezzar put Jehoiakim in bronze chains and led him away to Babylon. But is that story about an event on earth the same as an event in Heaven? This is why we have to allow the story to interpret symbols. Are all details within a scene a symbol? When you dress, are your cloths a symbol? Are they always a symbol? Sometimes they may be, and at times they may not be. We have to follow the story, looking for more information, and at times changes in the details.

Jesus’ voice was another detail that stood out. It wasn’t like the voice John knew, but a distinct voice that could carry all the way from the halls of Heaven to earth.

Stars in His right hand is a place people like to linger, but the stars are identified as symbols within the story. Jesus told John what those stars and candlesticks represented. Having angels in His right hand was a scene Jesus wanted John to see. The angels protect the church, and were seen in Jesus’ right hand. We don’t need scholars to explain the details. Jesus established the scene, controlled the scene, told John what items were used as symbols and what they meant. What more do we need?

Can you imagine John’s reaction to the scene? There John was, standing in Heaven’s court. A second ago John was on a desolate Island with some of Rome’s most notorious prisoners. John was lucky to be alive. John had to rely on prayer everyday so he wouldn’t become one of the island’s many victims. Food was scarce. People killed for a meal. Nothing grew on the Island. Fresh water was also limited. Each day seemed like a challenge. Then one day, the Heavens open up. John saw the light, then thought for a moment, this is it. This is the day I get to leave this world. But it was only a vision.

John saw the one he loved, Jesus. But it wasn’t the same Jesus John knew on earth. Jesus was different in some ways, and the same in others. His hair was different, much longer and now it was white. It wasn’t that long ago he saw Jesus. His clothing was different. That was to be expected. But Jesus didn’t choose to dress like the kings of this world. Jesus didn’t need jewels and gold to show His title. A gold sash was all He needed.

John looked down at Jesus’ feet. They were a little darker than before. John remembered the last thing Jesus did before he was arrested. No one cleaned Jesus’ feet, but look at them now. Heaven is so different than this world.

Hearing from Jesus was something else. His voice seemed to carry on forever. The tone in His voice told John, the message was important, one that would carry to the ends of the world. It began with seven letters to a collection of seven groups of followers in seven locations.