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I. Chapters 1-11 The Fall of Jerusalem
A. Chapter 1
- Revelation 1:1 begins with very important words that informs us as to the nature of this book. The first verse tells us that the things that we are going to read about must â€œquickly take place.â€ Thus the events that we read about are not things that would happen thousands of years later, but were about to begin in the days of the first century readers.
- Further, Revelation 1:1 tells us that Jesus sent this letter and signified it through his angel. This is important for us to notice. Signified means that the book was literally put into signs. Thus, the things that we will read must be taken figuratively unless the text demands otherwise. Our normal hermeneutic toward the Bible is that we take all things literally unless the text demands otherwise. But verse one of Revelation demands that we take the book symbolically, for the angel put the book into signs.
- In Revelation 1:11 we see that the book is written to the seven churches of Asia. These churches actually existed in the days of John and it is to these seven churches that Johnâ€™s revelation was to be sent. Because the seven churches are named and John is told to write to them, we must understand these churches as literally existing.
B. Chapters 2-3
- In Revelation 2-3 Jesus addresses these seven churches. The general message found to each of these churches is a commendation, a condemnation, and a promise to victors. We are able to get an idea of what these churches were going through when we read Revelation 2:9-10, â€œI know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.â€
- We read that these churches were suffering and going through tribulation. We know that during this time many of the Roman emperors were demanding worship to them and caused persecution against those who would not bow. In fact, to the church of Thyatira, Jesus speaks of a great tribulation that was occurring. The words great tribulation only occurs three times in the New Testament, twice in Revelation and once in Matthew 24. Matthew 24 is describing the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of the Roman empire. This gives us an early clue as to the dating of the book, for the destruction of Jerusalem occurred at 70 A.D.
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