This is it. The last book of the Bible, the last “Bible In 90 Days” blog, and the last of God’s words in Scripture.
Writing a blog about Revelation is a bit intimidating. Although I feel that I have a better understanding of Revelation than Quantum Physics or catalytic converters, there are plenty of mysteries that remain in the book. I’ve read the book many times, I’ve even taught through the whole thing over a period of a year (and I plan to again in the future), and yet, there are still things that I don’t fully understand in the book…but I like serving a God that I don’t fully get.
Think about it – what if we could fully understand God and everything He does? He wouldn’t seem that great anymore, would He? What if instead of saying, “My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts are higher than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9), He said, “You and I are pretty much equals.” Bummer. One thing I love about God are His unsearchable, unfathomable, uncontainable ways. Revelation displays that in a way that no other Bible book captures.
Remember that the book is called “Revelation” (singular). It’s not “Revelations.” Although the book reveals many things, it’s primary goal is to reveal ONE Person: Jesus Christ. He begins the book, ends the book, and saturates all the pages in between. He is the One who died but is alive forevermore, the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, the faithful and true conqueror, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He. Is. It.
This blog is not intended to be a commentary on the book, but more of an overview. For a more in-depth study of the book, I’ve included some resources at the end of this blog post…
Revelation was written by the Apostle John – the same one who wrote the gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, and3 John. This book, however, is far different. It was the latest book of the Bible to be written and it serves as a fitting cap to the rest of Scripture as we anticipate the events that are still to come.
We learn from the very first chapter that John wrote the book while in exile on the island of Patmos. He had been exiled there for preaching the Gospel. Tradition says that he was thrown in a pot of boiling oil as a punishment, but he didn’t die. So, off to Patmos he went! Thank God for keeping him alive long enough to arrive in Patmos. He was very old by the time he arrived, and Patmos was a very lonely place. However, God often speaks the clearest when all the other distractions have been driven away. Don’t despise your Patmos. It may be lonely, but God has something unique to speak to you that you may not be able to hear anywhere else!
The book of Revelation is the only book of the Bible that has this promise attached to it…
“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” – Revelation 1:3 NKJV
It’s not that you won’t be blessed by reading the other 65 books of the Bible, but Jesus sets this one apart as unique. It’s a challenging read, but dive in and live it out – you’re guaranteed to be blessed!
Although teaching the book provides many challenges, Jesus at least helped by outlining the book for us…
“Write the things which you have seen (Chapter. 1), and the things which are (Chapters 2-3), and the things which will take place after this (Chapters 4-22).” – Revelation 1:19 NKJV
John begins with the vision of Jesus that he was witnessing, then continues with 7 short letters to 7 churches that existed at that time, then continues with what is yet to come.
Throughout the book, John writes in colorful, vivid, poetic language. He describes rainbows of color, a city built with precious stones, a sea of glass, innumerable amounts of voices worshipping together, as well as bloodshed, never-before-seen carnage and judgment, and much more. Although much of Revelation is figurative and symbolic, there are also some things that are very specific: 3 1/2 days, 42 months, a time and times and half a time, a thousand years, and more. Because of the repetition and precision of these numbers, we know God is spelling out exact days and times of these events. We love to think we know how it will all end one day, but God is the One who really knows how and when it will end.
One thing that stands out to me in the middle of the book is God’s continued love and mercy that He gives to people who obviously don’t deserve it. Think about the great effort He has gone to in order to reach every person with the Gospel. Creation alone speaks of His existence, plus He sent prophets, angels, symbols, His only Son, and His Word. If all of that wasn’t enough, He deploys an army of 144,000 witnesses in Revelation 7, 2 more powerful, miracle-working witnesses in Revelation 11, and then, as a last resort, He sends an angel flying through the sky proclaiming the Gospel in every language (Revelation 14). By the time judgment rolls around, no one has any excuse. Every person standing before Jesus on judgment day has hardened their hearts and chosen to reject Christ.
Although we rejoice in the victory that is guaranteed to those of us who follow Christ, we’re saddened by the end of Revelation 20. In my opinion, Revelation 20:15 is the saddest verse in the entire Bible…
“And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” – Revelation 20:15 NKJV
God had better plans for these people. Hell wasn’t created for them. However, if these people purposely rejected Christ, why would He force them to spend eternity with Him? Instead, they’re given what they deserve and what many of them say they want (although they will disagree): HELL for all of eternity. Devastating.
Revelation 20:15 puts fire in my preaching. Although on that day, there will be people standing there that I know from my time on Earth, I don’t want them to be there because I didn’t love them enough to share the truth of the Gospel with them. God is holy and His holiness demands judgment.
Although Revelation 20 is devastating, Revelation 21 is on the other end of the spectrum – everything is made new!
“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:3 NKJV
It’s the day we’ve all been waiting for. The streets of gold are great, the walls made of precious gemstones are awesome, 12 gates made of pearls are beautiful, but here’s the best thing about heaven…
“Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” – Revelation 21:3
We will dwell with Jesus forever!
Have you ever thought about “forever”? Just try to imagine something never ending. Ever. It’s a crazy thought. Just like the lyrics of “Amazing Grace” say: “When we’ve been there ten thousand years / Bright shining as the sun / We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise / Than when we first begun.” After 10,000 years, we’ll still have the desire, ability, and time to continue worshipping! AMAZING!
Forever: it’s an incredibly long time to worship and an incredibly long time to be wrong! Make sure that you know Jesus. Don’t be one of the people that Revelation 20:15 speaks of.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this journey through the Bible as much as I have. It’s been amazing and life-changing. Blogging through each book of the Bible has proven to be a greater challenge than I anticipated, but it’s been far more rewarding as well! I hope that these blogs and your personal time in God’s Word have caused you to have a greater hunger to draw closer to the God of the Bible. He’s real. He’s unfathomable. He’s in love with you!
One of the best messages I’ve ever heard on the book of Revelation is by John MacArthur. It’s called A Jet Tour Through Revelation. I would HIGHLY recommend listening to it. It’s an hour that you will not regret!
You can also listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of an overview of Revelation taught by my pastor, Skip Heitzig. Also amazing.
If you’re looking for a basic commentary on Revelation, Skip Heitzig also just published a book last month called You Can Understand the Book of Revelation. You can purchase it online HERE if you’re interested.