An Overview of the
Revelation of Jesus Christ:
Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ
Rev 1:1 ¶ 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:
According to Strong, the definition of the English word “Revelation,” the Greek word, “apokalypsis,” is:
1) laying bare, making naked
2) a disclosure of truth, instruction
a) concerning things before unknown
b) used of events by which things or states or persons hitherto withdrawn from view are made visible to all
3) manifestation, appearance
This same word here translated “Revelation” occurs, in its substantive and verbal form, in numerous instances in the New Testament, and is variously rendered: Revelation (Rom 2:5), manifestation (Rom 8:9), appearing (I Peter 1:7), coming (I Cor. 1:7) enlightening (Luke 2:32). According to Luke 12:2, there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed. It is therefore appropriately employed to express the manifestation of iniquity, in the last days, and the revelation or appearing of the Lord at His Second Coming. “The day of Christ shall not come except there be a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed.”
Tenaciously, I have consistently maintained that the revelation of Jesus Christ was truly just THAT; the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the Word of God (Jn 1:1 and Rev. 19:13). Often, we have inquired of prophecy teachers: “Sirs we would see Jesus.” Then it seems that a dark figure called the anti-Christ, from out of the very book that is suppose to reveal the real Christ, is brought forward. All too often in the quest to see Jesus in the book of Revelation, after some theological incantations of divine sorcerers, our vision is cast down by the likes of such false prophets such as Jack VanImpe, Hal Lindsey, Tim LeHaye and crew, not to mention some of our own Apostolic Sorcerers. A false Word is brought forward. Like the witch of Endor someone will call up the ghost of Nero and the Roman General Titus to present to us from the pages of the “Revelation.” By means of clever twisting of scripture, some idea of old Jerusalem destroyed in 70AD by the Roman army is presented as The Revelation of Jesus Christ by the Preterist. Other sorcerers will present a two hundred million member of the Chinese Army crossing over a dried up bed of the Euphrates river. We are shown Islam, computer chips, an American President, Russian armies coming down on horses to attack Israel. On and on, ad infinitum as an endless parade carnal incantations that continue on from one news headline to another, all of which are intended to titillate the lustful heart bent down into the sensual principle as though the revelation of Jesus Christ is driven and unveiled by the latest news headlines.
I don’t distress over these teachers since they have been around for a long time attempting to reveal from out of The Revelation almost anything instead of Jesus Christ who is gloriously identified and revealed within its sacred pages. In truth, “antichrist” is only mentioned four times between the covers of the sacred text. Each appear in the Epistles of John; three times in I John and once in II John, but never once mentioned in “The Revelation.”
You ask these learned teachers concerning the glory of the church and the power of the Kingdom of God to be revealed upon the earth, invariably, the vision that you get from them is a little understood beast rising up out of the sea giving everyone a number on their forehead or right hand. Indeed, much wickedness and iniquity is also revealed in the pages of The Revelation. However, such manifestation is to the extent that the Light of our Lord Jesus Christ is revealed, the discerner of the thoughts and intent of the heart.
You ask about the victory that overcomes the world, sooner or later, you will get a picture of human blood flowing like a mighty river down in the valley of Megiddo running for many miles up to the horse’s bridle, (Rev. 14). You will hear about Moses and Elijah (possibly Enoch) coming back in the flesh to be slain in old earthly Jerusalem where they will lie in the streets before being caught up to heaven to be witnessed on a world-wide television special. When Jesus Christ is not revealed, almost any scheme of interpretation might be imaginatively employed aided by the evil angel of light from outer darkness to establish yet another theory, but for to deceive.
Side note: Once my son took the average amount of blood in each human body, multiplied it by all the people in the earth, figured the distance and depth of the river of blood mentioned in Revelation, he got a figure that would require all the blood of every human being THAT EVER LIVED and still not be enough blood to measure up to the horse’s bridle. Then if there were such a river of blood to come up to the horses’ bridle, the bodies of those slain would, no doubt, have to stack up to the moon. Canal thinking is the bane of divine understanding.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ is not the revelation of Nero, Popes, Kings, Presidents, Obama, Gorbachev nor is it the armies of China and kingdoms of this world, all of which we’ve heard many times before. In my early years one good pastor lamented when president Einsenhower died, “Well, there goes my fifth antichrist.” The book…The Revelation of Jesus Christ is just that…the Revelation of Jesus Christ revealed, manifested, unveiled, made known, appearing, shown forth, fully disclosed in HIS CHURCH. The Revelation is about Jesus, who He is and as he is revealed TO His church, IN His church. Therefore, it’s all about Jesus AND His church. It is about his loving and compassionate dealing with her, from the beginning to the end.. The seven churches of Asia of the 2nd and 3rd chapters are merely a composite of all churches of all time from then until now. If you were to walk into any church anywhere in the world, it will be one of the seven to whom Jesus spoke and addressed Himself so succinctly, calling upon all to repent, save two.
As seen in Chapter ONE, the main introductory chapter to the Revelation, Jesus Christ, of whom the book is written, identifies himself as the Almighty God:
Rev 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
After Jesus identifies Himself, he then reiterates His identification after which he then expresses His intent for now speaking to John, taking him out in the Spirit on the Lord’s day:
Rev 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send [it] unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
After Jesus identifies Himself to John, stating his purpose in speaking to him in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, He then is seen in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, walking among them. Who can but doubt that these candlesticks are the seven churches to whom John is commanded to write concerning those things which he shall both hear and see?
Rev 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
Rev 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
After Jesus identifies who he is (God Almighty) and where he is found walking among the churches, from what follows in subsequent chapters, particularly chapters two and three, which are the prologue chapters to The Revelation, it is plainly demonstrated that the Words of Jesus to the seven churches are words to the entire universal Church in the complex. As stated above, seven being the number of completion, every church of all ages are in whole or in part revealed in words spoken by Jesus to these seven. The spiritual state, that is to say, the condition of all churches of all ages are seen in His message to the seven churches among whom he walks, holding them as stars in His hand. Regardless of which of the Apostolic churches that you may walk into, you will be walking into one of the seven churches described in chapters two and three or a combination thereof. Which of the seven would you suppose yourself of being a part of?
When we are earnestly desiring to see Jesus, we need not hear the latest news headlines nor is there any need to hear what the Palestinians are doing. It does us little spiritual good to hear about wars and famines from news agencies. It lends no spiritual good to hear about an evil man who is going to rule the whole world, of a computer in Brussels that fill up a high rise office building that is going to give everyone a number, of Chinese armies crossing over the dried up Euphrates river or even Russia coming down out of the North. On and on. There are plenty of other scriptures that deal with those things…but not in the Revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ. I rejoice in the hope of the catching away, but don’t try to find it in Revelation.
In short, our blessed hope and the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds will come to pass filling our hearts with joy at his return. Meanwhile, we must not forfeit the greatest thing that will ever happen in the earth when Jesus will indeed appear in His church, seen by her ruling with power and glory. These things are at hand, which is to say “within our grasp.” Let us reach for Him. He is not far from the least of us, if we will but feel after Him. He is at hand.
Unto them that look for Him shall he appear….
Again I say, every church from that day to this can be identified in one or more of the seven churches of Asia since those seven churches are all churches of all time in the complex. Every God-inspired sermon preached to a church will address a resident condition found in one or more of those churches. That is why it is important that no sermon should be amiss by addressing the need of Smyrna when in Philadelphia…or preaching what should be preached in Thyatira when in Pergamos. The preaching should be led of the Holy Ghost for only He knows the singular need of each church.
It is worth noting that to each of the seven churches, Jesus makes his introductory remark, “I know thy works…” In each case he concludes his remarks to them by saying, “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit sayeth unto the churches.” Jesus is still speaking the same things to each of the churches today through his message to the seven. He sees and knows our works by which we will be defined, and if we are spiritual enough to be able to hear what the Spirit is saying to us, we may then have both presence of mind and opportunity to repent of whatever deficiency may be as noted by Him who searches us out. This is true whether we are of the nature of those in Ephesus, the first church addressed or that of Laodicea, the last church addressed.
After Jesus makes His charges known to the church universal, the question then becomes a matter left to the churches individually, that is, to repent or not to repent as called upon by He who examines each church and says, ” I know thy works.” He who is all knowing calls upon each of the seven (save two) to repent. But, will they? The rest of the book is centered around those churches in spiritual decline and those churches who are truly repenting to become the Bride of Christ. Here it is that we see those churches who do not repent and the consequences to follow and furthered centered around the overcoming church at last seen as the Lamb’s wife. In the end there are only two churches. There will be a virgin bride of Christ prepared for His coming and there will be a harlot church fit for destruction.
Judgment is set in Chapter 4. This chapter concerns arrangement and preparation of all things in heaven for the judgment that will come to both the repentant and the unrepentant to be executed from the Word as from a Just Judge, likewise concerning the acknowledgement that the Lord is the only wise Potentate and God alone.
The churches that do not repent have available to them the same Revelation of Jesus who alone walks in their midst, as all the other churches, but the affects on them are much different than upon the churches that do repent and is the overcoming, victorious church. All churches will be judged from His Word according to their works to the extent that they repent, or do not repent, as seen by what follows through out the Revelation.
Four horsemen of Revelation six: White. Red. Black. Pale. Horses in scripture represent the spiritual understanding of the Word of God. It is by that understanding that a warrior is conveyed about in battle. The better we understand the Word of God, the better we are led out into battle against the foe. We either win or defeated based entirely upon the vitality of our horse. We are made to be overcomers by our testimony and the Word of God.
In chapter 6 you see the church in a general sense starting out in great glory, power, purity and overcoming the world by conquest (first seal) represented by the rider of the white horse. As time progressed so the state of the church evolve from such Apostolic purity and conquering power to accepting some error (the second seal), represented by red as a church from the Word inflicting violence upon the Word as heresies creep in. Then we find the church (third seal) become so famished by ever increasing error to the point that in the end, the church, in a general sense becomes so anemic, so chlorotic, that the only consequence of its unrepentant condition (the fourth seal) is that of death. Hell then quickly follows closely afterward.
Going forward, chapter seven is about Jesus and His church. Chapter eight is about Jesus and His church. Chapter nine is about Jesus and His church. Chapters ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, on and on until the end of chapter twenty-two is about nothing more, save Jesus and His church.
My purpose in this short treatise is to underscore a different perspective of The Revelation than what is presented by most religious traditionalist and that of many prevailing persuasions fostered upon the true church by unregenerate publishers and writers. It soon becomes evident that the spiritual disclosure of the text of the Revelation, the unveiling of Jesus Christ, is the most powerful Apostolic book in holy writings.
It is too bad the Dispensationalist like Schofield, Larkin, Hal Lindsey, Jack VanImpe and company, including a many of our own Apostolic prophecy teachers have committed so much fornication with error as to become insane with lustful fantasies from their own imaginations. They have so thoroughly corrupted The Revelation having successfully blinded the eyes of many who would have otherwise and joyfully embraced these great Apostolic truths found in Revelation, the Capstone of all Apostolic revealed truth, the perfecting writings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of these emissaries of hell often spoke of the infilling of the Holy Ghost as evidenced by speaking in tongues as being of the devil. How it is that these agents of darkness could have their writings so well received by so many of us who already love Apostolic truths and the Oneness of God, is to me, a mystery. Not the least portion of The Revelation of Jesus Christ can be revealed, unveiled, manifested and disclosed to men of regenerate spirits renewed by the Holy Ghost by unregenerate lecturers and authors who DO NOT KNOW HIM.
No part of the Sacred Scripture has been the subject of such deep and anxious study as the Book of Revelation, and none has received so many and such various interpretations. Of course, this may be accounted for by the nature of the book itself. At once prophetic and enigmatic, it gives the greatest stimulus to human curiosity, and apart from divine help, affords the widest scope of human ingenuity.
Those churches, the remnant that go on from glory to glory to become what God intended for them to become are, at last, seen with their Lord, their lover and redeemer in all her regalia forever to dwell with Him. “Blessed and holy are these who have part in the first resurrection…” the first resurrection is JESUS, the first born from among the dead. They who have part in His resurrection must necessarily have part in, to become identified with Him in His death by repentance, and burial by water baptism in His Name. Blessed are they who have part in His death, burial and resurrection by the infilling of his Divine Spirit. All who become so identified with Jesus shall live to eternity to die no more. They shall see His face at last, when that fellowship so long sought, is fully restored on the banks of the River of Life.
Those churches that did not repent, though earnestly entreated by Him who walked in their midst, saying, “I know thy works,” He who loved them the most, He who would not let them perish so easily, after much travail to save them, were finally lost after judgment was complete. Apart from Jesus there is no life, only eternal death.
Jesus is made known, revealed, brought forth into view in every chapter, unveiling Him in the church befitting the occasion presented in each chapter. Each of his seven spirits (the Spirit of God in the aggregate) is manifested as he deals with the seven churches which are a token of the whole of all churches.
When Jesus is brought forth in full view as it is done in Revelation, nothing will stir the heart, vivify the mind, establishes Apostolic doctrine quite as well as it is done here. One would no longer shun the book but rather cherish it as greatly as the Gospels and Acts seeing the true promised blessedness that reside there for all who read it.
I would urge everyone who have these John Darby, C.I. Schofield, Clarence Larkin views, albeit modified in various forms by some of our own Apostolic writers, remove those opinions to a discarded heap and leave them there. Holding to them will effectively rob our Lord of His glory which prevent Him from shining forth in His regal beauty and divine majesty that would otherwise be possible. Darby, Schofield and Larkin nor the proponent of Preterism never had of the Holy Ghost for illumination that they should become teachers of Apostolic truths. In fact, Larkin said of Pentecostals and the experience of speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterances, to be of the devil. Why should any of us give ear or attention to such seducing spirits? Let us remove their fallacies from the citadel of our minds by repenting of them of their lies that we may hold in our minds.
Our Pentecostal bible colleges collected together the writings of Clarence Larkin who was an architect by trade. He very graphically illustrated the false doctrine of dispensationalism with many and various charts. He was so very cunning and skillful that our bible schools copied those same charts some of which I’ve seen in churches on canvas stretched from wall to wall across the platform that our learned teachers taught from. When young fertile minds are so fed by teachers like Clarence Larkin/C.I. Schofied and gang by means of our bible schools as a medium, what else might we expect to be taught in our churches? Thus, the lie is preserved, protected and perpetuated from generation after generation. What do you suppose is the eventual effect on the church who is suppose to be free of all error?
When we read, “shortly come to pass” in the text, it should be understood to mean “what is foretold here in this prophecy will surely come to pass.” This, owing to the knowledge there is no time in the spiritual sense of the Word, but rather “certainty” instead, depending on the spiritual state of the church from the time those various states unfold themselves. When we read, “at hand,” we should understand that to mean that those things prophesied here will be embraced, depending on how a church respond to the warnings and charges given in the second and third chapters of Revelation.
On the one hand, we can take hold upon death and hell by rejecting the loving reach of our Lord, who is urging his beloved to repent. On the other hand, we can also take hold of life by repenting of those things that Jesus charged the churches within the same second and third chapters. These things are “at hand,” and will certainly come upon the churches depending on how they receive the Word of the Lord unveiled here in this most marvelous text.
Jesus is seen as the eternal lover of his church who have taken the warnings of her heavenly lover to heart by repenting of those things he warned against. The long enduring ambition of God since the beginning, is that He might fellowship with and live among men whom he created in the beginning for this purpose. This, His highest ambition is seen by His great love of fellowshipping with Adam in the garden during the cool of the day when he descended in human form for loving fellowship, walking and talking personally and intimately with him. Together, each enjoyed blessed fellowship and communion until the horrible break caused by rebellion and disobedience. This awful tragedy will not be repeated by the last church. She is predestined for His purpose. We have a choice whether to be a part of that overcoming church, or not to be. Let us choose wisely.
This same state of the beginning fellowship and loving intimacy with man will be restored by the Revelation of Jesus when He raises the level of holiness in his obedient church by the unveiling of His Word within man that he can draw close and personal with men until it is finally said, “Behold the Tabernacle (Jesus) of God is with men.
The beloved Lady, the virgin bride of Christ, the last church, (Adam and Eve, being the first) will restore all things together with her heavenly bridegroom by means of obedience that was lost by the first church in the garden by disobedience so long ago.
It is imperative that we do not allow the arch enemy of the Kingdom of God to abort within us His wonderful plan for you and I and the church collectively, by religious traditions evolved from speculative so-called endtime theology, handed down to us by unregenerate men who held pure Apostolic doctrine in contempt. Rather, let us buy the truth and sell it not at any price, by exchanging error, (regardless however much we may cherish it) for the glory soon to be revealed is us as we continue to walk in the light of his countenance.
The conclusion of the matter is this: The revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ is not revealed to those who make God three and our Lord two. The whole of Trinitarian dogma is darkness in which the least of divine light is absent. The revelation is withheld from the wise of this world among the academia but is revealed to His Servants often seen, as the early disciples, ignorant and unlearned men. Though it does not have to be, scholastic achievement is often a detriment, nourished by pride.
At the risk of being too redundant, may I again emphasize an earlier point, Jesus is seen identifying Himself in Chapter one and walking among his church. He is seen counseling his church individually and collectively in chapters two and three. These three chapters are the introductory chapters to the Revelation. Chapters four and five are preparatory to judgment in the house of God by Jesus, the head of the church. Chapters six give us graphic illustrations as to how a great church will begin as an overcoming church having great glory with purity of Divine truth but, with decreasing love and attendance to the Divine allow for heresies to creep in to rob it of its power and glory. Afterwards famine, not of bread, but of hearing of the Word becomes pronounced. Finally, in the end of a church which began in great glory, the church is seen followed by death and hell fast on its heels. Once a bright glorious city of God by means of ever progressive error and waning love eventually becomes the city of Babylon, a harlot.
There are two women (churches) becoming visible in the book of Revelation. From beginning through to the end makes known how the churches respond to the call of repentance and the consequences that follow until at last there is in the end, a church triumphant restored to what God intended for her to be from the garden. The church of Jesus Christ will become either a harlot woman or the virgin bride, depending on her love and the Revelation that she receives and the light from it that she walks in, or fails to walk in.
How men conjure up so many fantasies to apply to the Word of God that by tortured reasoning can be so deluded as to dream up some of the things that they often do is nothing less than spiritual insanity. How it is, that on one hand we will reject the Roman doctrine of the Trinity but on the other hand accept the doctrine dispensationalism in all its forms and of Preterism is quite amazing to me. While we reject the doctrine of the Reformed who not only hold to the doctrine of the Trinity but in addition to it have added the doctrine of salvation by Faith Alone and Eternal Security, yet so many of us fully embrace their Dispensationalist teaching while they say of those of us who speak in tongues, are devil possessed. How can such light come out of so much darkness? Truthfully, it cannot. Everything they offer is a lie, including the Dispensationalist teaching in every form.
Pro 4:18 But the path of the just [is] as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. (There is a perfect day ahead awaiting all who will walk in the Light).
Psa 89:15 Blessed [is] the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.
Let us lay aside every weight (of error)….and run toward perfection with patience.
Jesus is seen as the eternal lover of those men who took the warnings to heart, repenting from the heart those things he warned against. The highest ambition of God has always been to live and fellowship with him whom he created. This is seen by His great love of fellowshipping with Adam in the garden during the cool of the day when he would come down in human form to fellowship, walking and talking personally and intimately with him. Each enjoyed blessed fellowship and communion with each other until the horrible break caused by rebellion and disobedience. This will not be repeated by the last church. This same state of fellowship will be restored by the Revelation of Jesus in the church brightly burning with intense love toward him as He raises the level of holiness within man that he can draw ever closer and personal with men until it is finally said, “Behold the Tabernacle (Jesus in the flesh) of God is with men.” Rev. 22:3.
Everything that the first Adam and his wife lost by believing the lie followed by disobedience will be restored by the Last Adam and His wife by believing the truth followed by obedience.
Rev. 21:5, “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”
Yours in Christ