Lent status: Available
The verse-by-verse interpretation of the Book of Revelation found in this book is according the “Historical Interpretation of Biblical Prophecy”. This School of Interpretation has as its basis that there is a chronological fulfilment of prophecy. With the Bible in the one hand and the History Book, and even current world events, in the other, you can actually see prophecy becoming history.
By following this line of interpretation, we find ourselves in the good company of the Reformers. They found in the Book of Revelation a prophetic account of the fiery trials through which the true church (the “Ekklesia”) was to pass, and also of God’s judgements on her enemies. This interpretation of prophecy as a fore-telling of actual history, which had been and was being strikingly fulfilled, was largely blessed of God in bringing about the reformation.
The following Bible expositors and men of God, all held to the continuous historical fulfilment of prophecy: Grattan Guinness, E. P. Cachemaille, Luther, Calvin, Bunyan, Elliot, Finney, Spurgeon, G. Campbell Morgan, Hudson Taylor, The Waldenses, Wycliffe, John Huss, Jerome, Tyndale, Cranmer, Ridley, Sir Isaac Newton, and numerous others.
It is the author’s deepest conviction that our heavenly Father never intended his true servants to be left in the dark concerning his eternal purpose.
In Amos 3:7 it is written:
Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
What God has spoken, will come to pass, and exactly on time, for nothing in this old world has greater power than a prophecy whose time of fulfilment has come. In these days of darkness and danger our faith will be infinitely strengthened when we see how the events described prophetically in the Book of Revelation have been fulfilled chronologically from the time they were written down by John on the Isle of Patmos, until our present day.
The end of all things, as far as this present dispensation is concerned, is at hand. We see the heathen Communistic powers gaining daily in strength and numbers, as well as in military and technical might. In contrast to this, the Christian Nations are becoming more divided decadent and apostate by the day.
Our Statesmen are desperate, and do not know what to do, while their hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven are being shaken - (See Luke 21:25-26).
The Book of Revelation is the summary and climax of all the prophecies of the Bible. It is, as the name implies, a revelation and not a mystery. We believe you will be greatly comforted and encouraged by the reading of this book, that is, if your heart is right with God.
It is always a glorious experience and a wonderful uplift when you suddenly emerge from a condition of doubt and darkness and confusion into clarity and light. This book is going to shed a flood of light upon the whole Bible. The Word of God will assume a new meaning to you, and in very deed it will become:
“A Lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path”.
I want to acknowledge my indebtedness to Miss W. G. Heath for her assistance in checking the original manuscript, and for her very valuable suggestions.
The “Book of Revelation” is deemed by many to be one of the most difficult books in the Bible, but, when properly handled, the whole story can be understood quite easily. It is the summary of the entire Bible, and reveals God’s Plan and Purpose of the Ages, which can be very briefly put as follows:
Where the Book of Genesis tells us how Paradise was lost,
The Book of Revelation tells us how Paradise will be regained.
Being the final Book of the Bible, it will make use of the entire Bible symbolisms, teaching and doctrine. It will complete the picture.
It is a book of symbols, written thus by our wise and loving God, Who, while leaving mankind with free will or free choice, and foreseeing the moves of men and nations from beginning to end, is all the while silently overruling, steering the barque onwards, from the fruitless ways of self-will and false religion into the haven of a world-wide kingdom for his Son in which God’s Will shall eventually be done on earth, even as in heaven - (See Matt. 6:10).
Through this Book of Revelation He displays once again that He alone is God, with power to fulfil his Will; doing also what none others have been able to do: “Declaring the end from the beginning”.
The Apostle John actually witnessed scenes, the events of which were centuries beyond his day. He was unable to describe these scenes in modern terminology, therefore he used language at his command to convey the impression the scenes made upon his mind; hence we read in terms that are pictorial and symbolic, his description of modern events and activities.
Let us visualize those scenes which are so minutely described, and there will pass in review before us, in their sequence, the stupendous fact that the apostle did actually witness our modern times - attending a “preview” of coming events, seeing and hearing actors who had not yet been born, even you and I.
These facts must be kept in mind as we read the prophetic message of Revelation. This Book is a panorama of church and world activities given by God through Jesus to John for our guidance and instruction. The Christian who neglects to study this Book turns away from a vital message, which God deemed so necessary that a special revelation was given to convey these facts to his people. John not only testified to the truth of the message that it was and is of God, but he also spoke of the certainty of the testimony of Jesus. Later on he declares that that testimony is the very spirit of prophecy - (Rev. 19:10).
Daniel and Revelation
The Books of Daniel and Revelation go together, for Revelation is the natural successor to Daniel, just as the New Testament is the complement of the Old Testament.
Concerning the last 2572 years (i.e. from approximately 600 BC to now) in a broad sense, we can say: Daniel gives about the first, one-third in detail, and the second two-thirds in outline.
Revelation gives the second two-thirds in detail.
In other words, Revelation takes us from the First Advent through the Tribulation to Armageddon and the Second Advent, the New Heavens and the New Earth, the Kingdom, the “little season” of Revelation 20:7-15, and then Eternity.
(Are you ready to face all these as the majesty of it all begins to dawn on you?).
And all this is centred on the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, in special relationship to his church and also to his kingdom. We see that it is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” - (Rev. 1:1) as Saviour and Lord of lords and King of kings.
The theme is the completion of God’s work of Restoration (6,000 years) by which man enters into his “rest”. As has been said:
The Book of Genesis began with Paradise Lost;
And Revelation ends with Paradise Regained.
It describes in detail the final struggle of dethroning Lucifer and enthroning Jesus Christ.
See Romans 11:33-36.
There are three main chronological constructions or build-ups:
1) Revelation 1-3 (Particularly Chapters 2 and 3):
This runs from 96 AD (when Revelation was written) up to the Second Advent and the Kingdom Age, and concerns the Christian Church, Pagan Rome, and Papal Rome and Christ’s Church.
2) Revelation 4-11 (Particularly Chapters 6-11):
This also covers from 96 AD up to the Second Advent, the Kingdom Age, and concerns Christ’s Church, Pagan Rome, Papal Rome, and Christ’s Kingdom, with special emphasis on Pagan Rome.
3) Revelation Chapters 12-22:
From the First Advent up to the Second Advent and the Kingdom Age, and concerns the Christian Church, Pagan Rome, Papal Rome and Christ’s Kingdom with special emphasis on Papal Rome and Christ’s Kingdom.
And so the Book of Revelation covers more than a period of 3,000 years of World History pre-written. This is wonderful indeed and is absolute proof that it is God-breathed.
Titles and Headings.
There are five main ones:
1) The Seven Letters (1:9-3:22)
2) The Seven Seals (4:1-8:1)
3) The Seven Trumpets (8:2-11:19)
4) The Seven Vials (15:1-16:21)
5) Then Chapters 17-22: The aftermath of the “seventh vial” judgement, and the setting up of Christ’s Kingdom on Earth.
Schools of Interpretation.
There are four different Schools of Interpretation:
i) Futurists: Who say that Revelations 4 (or) 6 to 22 is still awaiting fulfilment.
ii) Historicists: Who say that from John’s time there has been a chronological fulfilment in history of the prophecies of the Book of Revelation. We belong to this School.
iii) Praeterists: Who say that all fulfilment of Revelation is past?
iv) Harmonists: Who try to reconcile these different views? These last two are so much in the minority, that we will not consider them any further.
The Futurists believe in a secret coming for Christ’s Own. After the secret coming, there will be a period of 31 years (some say 7) when the Antichrist or Beast shall reign on earth, causing the Great Tribulation. During this period, Revelation 4 to 19 will be fulfilled.
This theory was evolved in the 16th century by a Roman Catholic Jesuit Priest by the name of Ribera to throw dust into the eyes of the Reformers who recognized the Papacy as the “great whore” of Revelation 17, and the Papal Church as the “woman drunken with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” - (Rev. 17:6).
This was enlarged upon by John Nelson Darby who organized the Plymouth Brethren in 1830. It is sad, that today, a large body of Protestants accept it.
The Historicists, to whom we belong, have in their ranks such illustrious names of the past as: Wycliffe, Martin Luther, John Knox, Newton, John Wesley, Charles Finney, C. H. Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, etc.
The Historic interpretation is based on fulfilled prophecy; in following it we tread the solid ground of facts accomplished. With the Book of Revelation in the one hand and the History Book in the other hand, we can confirm the chronological fulfilment of the events foretold in the Book of Revelation.
The Futurists predicted that Mussolini would revive the Holy Roman Empire. When his star faded, they said it was Hitler; now they say it is the group of nations comprising the European Common Market with Western Germany soon to emerge as the leader. (This Book was written originally in 1962.)
The Bible Comes Alive
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:
It is the “Revelation of Jesus Christ” and not of John as most people think. It is a Revelation and not the Mystery of Jesus Christ, and it is to show, not to conceal, that which must shortly come to pass.
This Revelation is to his servants, those who love him and serve him.
See: John 7:17; John 12:26; John 14:15,21,23-26.
We read that He “signified it” which means literally that He gave it in signs or symbols, the meaning of which would become clear later as history developed with the passing of time.
This Book is the Revelation of Christ’s triumph:
(a) Over the Nations;
(b) Over Satan (The Antichrist);
(c) Over all opposition.
It is also a revelation of how the saints will reign with Christ, and of the ultimate doom of Satan. That is why the devil and all his servants hate this Book and try their utmost to keep it a mystery. We will also find here a very clear description of the overthrow of the kingdoms of this world and their oppressive systems. We are going to read of the: “New Heavens and the New Earth wherein dwelleth righteousness”.
The New City, the New Jerusalem and the New Bride to whom the city belongs, are going to be introduced to us. God will make all things new, and He alone shall be triumphant. It is the Testimony of Jesus Christ, and also bares record of the Word of God - (verse 2).
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.
They that read it, hear and keep it will be blessed.
Keep: - Obedience is the key to God’s blessing. To keep means to practice, to repent, to confess, to obey and to acknowledge the LORD. The time is at hand, and even more so today. Let us watch, work, pray and endure as never before.
JOHN to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne.
Note that these seven churches are not in Judea or Jerusalem, but in Asia. This Asia of Bible times is where modern Turkey now is, as can be confirmed by reference to any Bible Map. This is of the utmost importance to note that the message of Revelation is not to the Jews, but to those who were “in Asia”. The people amongst whom these “seven churches” were; were none other than the House of Israel, or the Ten Tribes of Israel who were distinct from the House of Judah from whom the Jews come.
For this distinction see: Jeremiah 3:6-8; 1 Kings 12; Psalm 114:1-2; Ezekiel 37; Zechariah 11:7-14; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 etc.
By this time many from the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin had also joined up with them.
These ten tribes who had been taken captive into Assyria - (see 2 Kings 17) between the years 741-721 BC, had never yet been restored to Palestine. At the time of Christ, only the Jews were there, thus the ten tribes had no share in crucifying the Lord Jesus. They were therefore not responsible for the terrible curse, which the Jews brought upon themselves when they cried out:
“Away with him, away with him, crucify him” - John 19:15.
“His blood be on us, and on our children” - Matthew 27:25.
At the time of the writing of the Book of Revelation, these so-called Ten Lost Tribes found themselves in the area of “Asia”, and its surroundings. See how James and Peter wrote to these same people in:
James 1:1; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 1 Peter 2:9-10; (Cp.Hosea 2:23; Hosea 1:10)
Hosea 2:23; Hosea 1:10;
23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
This is the whole Message of Hosea: Israel, the adulterous and unfaithful wife of Jehovah, cast off, but ultimately cleansed and re-instated. His
message can be summarized in these two words: Lo-ammi, “not my people”, and Ammi, “my people”.
“My People” is an expression which is used in the Old Testament for Israel as nation exclusively. “Israel” in Hosea means the Ten Tribes of the Northern Kingdom in contra distinction to Judah (the tribes Judah and Benjamin) who comprised the Southern Kingdom and remained loyal to the House of David. Read 1 Kings 12:1-21.
We will explain this in further detail in our exposition of the Book Hosea.
See what the Jewish Historian, Josephus, had to say about them in the year 70 AD - “There are but two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) subject to the Romans; while the Ten Tribes are beyond the Euphrates till now, and are an immense multitude, and not to be estimated by numbers” (Book ll: Chapter 5 paragraph 2).
In the Apocrypha Esdras writes as follows:
2 Esdras 13:39-40, 43;
39 And whereas thou sawest that he gathered another peaceable multitude unto him;
40 Those are the ten tribes, which were carried away prisoners out of their own land in the time of Osea (Hosea) the king, whom Shalmanasar, king of Assyria, led away captive, and he carried them over the waters, and so came they into another land.
43 And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow passages of the river.
During the course of history, these Ten Tribes, under various names, moved across Europe and, eventually developed into the West European and kindred Nations, of whom we, white people in this country, form a part. This Message of the Book of Revelation was thus addressed to the House of Israel (as distinct from the House of Judah) to encourage them during the succeeding centuries of their tribulation.
Paul, in his missionary journeys, went after these people, who had become divorced from their faith and their God, and who had become as Gentiles during the course of centuries. He searched them out to tell them about the Promises of God which are without repentance - (Romans 11:29). To the Corinthians, for instance, who are generally accepted as heathen, he wrote as follows:
1 Corinthians 10:1-4;
1 MOREOVER, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
These words can only be applied to literal Israel, and yet Paul says to these so-called heathen Corinthians that those Israelites of Moses’ time were their fathers. We can trace this same tremendous fact through the other Epistles as well.
It is of the utmost importance in these days, that we also should go to our own people (the most of whom are the literal descendants of these so-called Lost Ten Tribes of Israel) to prepare them for their glorious destiny as the People of God. Satan knows this truth and that is the reason why he stirs up the heathen today to thwart the Plan of God. He did the same in the time of Daniel. Read for example Daniel 1O. We will examine this thoroughly in our Book on Daniel.
Unless the West (the true Israel of God) does not return to the Lord Jesus Christ, and then leads the world back to him, there is no hope for the human race.