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A STUDY OF REVELATION (5)
Victor M. Eskew
A. If a class is asked which book of the Bible they would like to study, many would request the book of Revelation.
B. At the outset, let’s make three points.
1. The title of the book is Revelation, not Revelations.
2. It will be impossible for us to come to absolute agreement on this book.
3. There is a blessing pronounced on those who read the book (Rev. 1:3).
C. After the introduction to Revelation, we will be studying the book chapter-by-chapter.
D. Let’s begin with an Introduction to Revelation.
I. THE NAME OF THE BOOK
II. THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK
III. RECIPIENTS OF THE BOOK
IV. THE PLACE OF WRITING
V. THE THEME OF THE BOOK
VI. THE KEY VERSE: Revelation 17:14
VII. THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK
VIII. NUMEROLOGY IN THE BOOK
IX. THE DATE OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION
A. NOTE: The date of the book will determine how a person interprets the figures in the book of Revelation.
1. Written before A.D. 70: the book pertains to the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. (This would involve the reign of Nero).
2. Written in A.D. 96: the book pertains to the affliction of the church at the hands of the Roman Empire. (This would involve the reign of Domitian).
B. Arguments for the A.D. 70 date and the destruction of the city of Jerusalem.
C. Arguments for the 96 A.D. date and the Roman Empire
1. External evidence
a. Irenaeus wrote that the Revelation appeared near the end of Domitian’s reign as Emperor. He reigned from. A.D. 81 – A.D. 96.
b. Origen placed John’s banishment to Patmos during the reign of Domitian.
c. Evidence indicates that the church at Smyrna may not have existed until after A.D. 60-64. In Revelation it is well established.
2. Other arguments for the late date:
a. “McDowell points out that Nero persecuted the church at Rome while Domitian extended it to the provinces. The persecution in Revelation is in the provinces (Asia Minor, 2:3; 6:9; 20:4)” (Studies in the Revelation, Dub McClish, ed., “The Book of Revelation – An Introduction, Jerry Moffit, p. 31).
b. Laodicea is a wealthy church (Rev. 3:17). Tacitus says it was destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 60. It would take a long time to return to its original wealth.
c. There is no mention in the Revelation of the ministry of Paul, as if it were long over.
d. The churches of Ephesus, Sardis, and Laodicea are in spiritual decline in the Revelation. If they had been started in the 40s or 50s, the early date would not give them enough years to deteriorate. The later date would.
e. There is evidence of Emperor worship in the book of Revelation. “Nero did nothing to insist on Caesar worship, while Domitian was the first emperor to take his “divinity’ seriously” (McClish, p. 31).
D. Refutation of the A.D. 70 arguments
1. We listed 16 arguments in favor of the A.D. 70 date for Revelation. Those who take the A.D. 96 date will have counters to these arguments in attempt to show their weaknesses.
2. Example: Argument #1 refuted
a. The argument: The Syriac Version of the New Testament
1) Some refer to this version as the Peshito (simple).
2) It was made in the second century.
3) It is the earliest of the direct versions.
4) This version places the Apocalypse during the reign of Nero, hence, before the destruction of Jerusalem.
5) “This fact is cited by MacDonald, in The life and Writings of John, on page 171, as follows: ‘In the Syriac version this book is entitled: ‘The Revelation which was made by God to John the evangelist in the island of Patmos, into which he was thrown by Nero Caesar’” (as quoted by Foy E. Wallace, Jr. in The Book of Revelation, p. 28).
b. The answer: “J.W. Roberts writes: ‘One argument which once had force but now is definitely known by biblical scholarship as false is based upon the title statement in the Peshitta Version of the New Testament that Nero banished John to Patmos.’ He goes on to explain that the version did not date from A.D. 125, but was from Bishop Rabbula of Edessa (411-435). It is, therefore, of late origin and conflicts with all the mass of early evidence” (as quoted in Studies in the Revelation, Dub McClish, ed., “The Book of Revelation – An Introduction,” Jerry Moffitt, p. 27).
E. Refutation of the A.D. 96 arguments
1. Those who hold to the early date will also attack the arguments for the late date.
a. The argument: Origen placed the banishment of John to the isle of Patmos during the reign of Domitian.
b. The answers:
1) Origen never used the name Domitian when he talked about John’s banishment. He referred to the emperor using the word “the tyrant.”
2) The emperor who is called “the tyrant” more than any others is Nero.
a. “Historians such as Appollonius of Tyana, born in 4 BC, said Nero was ‘commonly called the tyrant’” (Avenging His Holy Saints, Apostles and Prophets, D. Gene West, p. 41).
b. “The renowned historians Tacitus, Suetonius, and Juvenal, all of whom were contemporaries of Nero, spoke of him, not Domitian, as a cruel and bloody tyrant” (Ibid.).
X. OUTLINES OF THE BOOK
A. Homer Hailey, Revelation: An Introduction and Commentary
i. Conflict and Judgment Within and Without the Church (Rev. 1-11)
ii. War and Victory! (Rev. 12-22)
B. Tom Wacaster, John’s Vision on Patmos
i. The Church Vigilant (Rev. 1-11)
a. Christ in the Midst of the Seven Golden Lampstand (Rev. 1-3)
b. The Seven Seals (Rev. 4-7)
c. The Seven Trumpets of Judgment (Rev. 8-11).
ii. The Church Victorious (Rev. 12-22)
a. The Woman and Man Child Persecuted by the Dragon (Rev. 12-14)
b. The Seven Bowls of Wrath (Rev. 15-16)
c. The Judgment on the Dragon Followed by New Heaven and New Earth (Rev. 17-22)
C. Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary
i. The Things Which You Have Seen (Rev. 1)
ii. The Things Which Are (Rev. 2-3)
iii. The Things Which Will Take Place after This (Rev. 4-22)
A STUDY OF REVELATION
“One Like unto the Son of Man”
Victor M. Eskew
A. Revelation 1 is an introduction to the book: the Christ who authored the book, John the human prophet to whom the book was revealed, and the recipients of the book, the seven churches of Asia.
B. The key verse: Revelation 1:13a
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man…
C. The chapter can be divided into five sections:
i. The Preface (Rev. 1:1-3): something preliminary or introductory
ii. The Salutation (Rev. 1:4-9): “John to the seven churches which are in Asia
iii. The Voice (Rev. 1:10-12a): “…and heard behind me a great voice…”
iv. The Vision (Rev. 1:12b-18): “And being turned I saw…”
v. The Command (Rev. 1:19-20): “Write the things which thou hast seen”
I. THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST (Rev. 1:1)
II. SHORTLY COME TO PASS (Rev. 1:1)
III. SIGNIFIED IT (Rev. 1:1)
IV. BLESSED IS HE THAT READETH (Rev. 1:3)
V. A BOOK FROM THE TRINITY (Rev. 1:4-5a)
VI. A DESCRIPTION OF JESUS (Rev. 1:5)
VII. KINGS AND PRIESTS UNTO GOD (Rev. 1:6)
VIII. BEHOLD, HE COMETH WITH CLOUDS (Rev. 1:7)
IX. A DESCRIPTION OF JOHN (Rev. 1:9)
X. I WAS IN THE SPIRIT (Rev. 1:10)
XI. THE LORD’S DAY (Rev. 1:10)
XII. THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA (Rev. 1:11)
XIII. SEVEN GOLDEN CANDLESTICKS (Rev. 1:12)
XIV. ONE LIKE UNTO THE SON OF MAN (Rev. 1:13-16)
A. Son of man
B. Clothed with a garment down to the foot
C. Girt about with paps with a golden girdle
D. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow
E. His eyes were as a flame of fire
F. His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace
G. His voice as the sound of many waters
H. In his right hand seven starts
I. Out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword
J. His countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength
XV. JOHN’S REACTION (Rev. 1:17a)
XVI. THE LORD’S RESPONSE TO JOHN (Rev. 1:17b-18)
XVII. WRITE (Rev. 1:19)
XVIII. THE MYSTERY (Rev. 1:20)