Lesson 1: John’s Epiphany of the Glorified Christ
The Apostle John was a historical person. John wrote this letter to seven literal churches in literal Asia Minor. This was confirmed as such by all the next generation theologians like Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Clement and Irenaeus. It was written during the time of Roman Emperor Domitian (90-95 A.D.) who intensely persecuted the church. It would seem reasonable that in the midst of persecution the church should be given a book of such assurance, which gives them an explanation of God’s purposes and also a promise of ultimate triumph and reward.
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Lesson 2: The Prophetic History of the Church Age
John had been the head elder in the church at Ephesus and he ministered to the churches in neighboring towns. John is commanded to write to seven churches in Asia Minor in and around Ephesus. Theologians have always considered the conditions of these churches as typical of all churches for the last 2000 years.
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Lesson 3: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
Beginning in Rev 4, John’s epistle moves to future events by first giving John a vision of heaven in Rev 4 and 5. This marks an important transition from the “church age” (“the things that are” 1:19) to future end time events (“the things that will take place” 1:19). The scene shifts from matters concerning the church to a dramatic scene in heaven. The church is not mentioned again in the book of Revelation chapters 4-19. Many think the Lord’s promise to spare His church from the intense hour of testing (3:10) means the church will have been “raptured” before that time of tribulation described in chapters 6-19.
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Lesson 4: Worldwide Evangelism and More Judgments
The previous lesson in Rev 6 revealed a future time of unprecedented disaster and massive slaughter as a result of God’s righteous judgment upon a world in rebellion. That action is symbolized by his unrolling a seven-sealed scroll. As He breaks each seal, a new divine judgment is poured out on the earth; and the judgments of the seventh seal containing the “trumpet” judgments will be even worse. Revelation 7 is an interlude where the reader can catch his breath and ask the question, “In the midst of all this, what will God be doing in the way of evangelism, mercy, and grace?”
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Lesson 5: The Central Characters in the Tribulation
Revelation 10-11:14 is another interlude which separates the Trumpet judgments from the bowl judgments. The seventh trumpet will sound in Rev 11:15, marking the pouring out of the last series of bowl judgments which immediately precede the second coming of Christ. These judgments will be so severe that if Christ didn’t return to end them no one would survive.
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Lesson 6: ARMAGEDDON
Rev 14 consists of announcements and visions assuring the reader of the coming triumph of Christ, the fall of all worldly systems, and the coming “harvest” of judgment. Rev 15-16 describes the last series of bowl judgments whereby the wrath of God will be finished.
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Lesson 7: The Olivet Discourse
Tuesday night of the Passion Week – The religious leaders had rejected Christ and tried to discredit Him. Jesus denounced them in Mathew 23, turned His back on Jerusalem and told them that their house (temple) is left desolate. The kingdom would be postponed, but eventually Jesus would return as a conquering king to judge the world and set up the kingdom.
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Lesson 8: The Second Coming – Revelation 19
The marriage customs of the Middle East in the first century had three aspects: contract, ceremony and feast or celebration. The marriage symbolism is fulfilled in the relationship of Christ to His Church. The contract is made at the time the church is redeemed. When Christ comes for His church at the resurrection, the second phase is fulfilled. The third phase is in view in Rev 19 – the wedding feast celebration.
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Lesson 9: The Millennium and the Final Rebellion
The Millennium will be a time of restoration in which God restores the earth to its original created “Garden of Eden” type form. There will be no spiritual warfare, no exterior temptations, and no natural disasters typical of the previous fallen world.
The final rebellion (Rev 20:7-9) will fully demonstrate that so incorrigible is the nature of man that not even the Millennium can reform him. God’s power and goodness will be perfectly proven for 1000 years, yet given the opportunity, the human race will not submit to His authority. Nothing can reform the nature of man – no proof, no vision, no miracle. You must be born again, nothing else will do.
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Lesson 10: The City of No More
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Additional Study Material:
Symbolism in the Book of Revelation
The All Things to All People Church
The Mysteries of Revelation 10
Two Great Suppers at the End of the Age