Today we’ll start a nearly 2 month Jumpstart series on what’s probably the most controversial and confusing book of the Bible. As Cornelis Venema from Ligonier Ministries said,
“The interpretation of the book of Revelation has often proven difficult throughout the history of the Christian church. Though it is little more than a piece of scholarly gossip, some have even suggested that the Reformer John Calvin, one of the best interpreters of the Scriptures the church has known, shied away from writing a commentary on the book of Revelation for this very reason.”
You can imagine my confidence in giving my own interpretation and commentary when John Calvin, who wrote one of the greatest commentaries, didn’t. Add the fact that I hold to a different end times view than the majority of modern American Christians and this should really be fun. 😉
None the less, here’s a great introductory video to the first eleven chapters by the Bible Project:
Let’s dive into the first eight verses of chapter one.
In the introduction to the book, the apostle John makes it clear that he received a revealed vision from God of what’s to come, including the end times, final judgment, and consummation. He received this vision while exiled on the island of Patmos. Most scholars believe that John was the only Apostle (outside of Judas) who was not martyred for his faith, but instead God brought him to this island for this revelation and for all to read and know what he wrote to be blessed (v. 3).
John then mentions that he is writing to seven known churches at that time, warning and encouraging them and us, for each instruction is relevant to churches today. More on that content later next week. He makes a beautiful Gospel statement in verses 5-6 and in verse 8 he mentions, for the first time, that God is the Alpha and Omega, something that is repeated three more times in the book and extremely appropriate for a book revealing what a God who has no beginning or end will do in the end times and in the final judgment.
As controversial and confusing as the book of Revelation can be, I’m very excited to study it with our church the next few months, because we know it’s not only God’s inerrant Word, but it gives us a beautiful picture of a new heavens and earth when Satan is defeated once and for all.
What are you excited to learn about from this book? What are you most confused about concerning this book? Comment below and maybe we can attempt to help answer some of those questions and concerns when we reach some of those chapters and verses.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor