Revelation (chapters 1-3)
Pastor Trent Boedicker
Background to the Letter
- The author of the book is the Apostle John (1:1, 4, 9). Though the style of writing is very different from the Gospel and letters of John, that is not surprising as it is a very different type of book.
- It is addressed to seven churches in the province of Asia (western Turkey). this was the region where John ministered towards the end of his life.
- John wrote the book from Patmos (1:9), a small island ten miles long and six miles wide which was used by the Romans as a prison.
- One leader in the early church indicates John was banished by Emperor Domitian in 95 AD, and was eventually released after 18 months on the island.
- It was written at a time when Christians were under intense persecution, pressured to deny their faith in Christ and to worship the emperor.
- Revelation is a NT prophetic book, giving us a glimpse into events associated with the end times. It is a type of literature known as “apocalyptic,” similar to Daniel, Ezekiel, and Zachariah. These books use symbols, describe heavenly visions, speak of the conflict between darkness and light, pointing to the day when the Lord will triumph over evil.
- The book offers comfort to God’s people who are suffering, warns the ungodly of impending judgment, and rebukes believers who have become complacent.
- Revelation reminds us that the decisive victory has already been won by Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection.
I. What You Have Seen (chapter 1)
II. What Is Now (chapters 2-3)
III. What Will Take Place Later (4-22)
1. The book opens: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His bondservants, the things which must soon take place…” The word revelation (Greek apokalypsis) means to unveil something hidden, to disclose information, to make something known. What is being revealed?
2. Verse 3 tells us “the time is near.” From our earthly point of view, this may not seem to be true, as nearly 2,000 years have elapsed since the book was written. Is this amount of time very long from the perspective of God? Why do you think the Lord chose not to reveal the precise timing of these events?
3. What do we learn about Jesus from these verses? How is He described? What titles are used?
Letters to the Churches: (chapters 2 & 3)
4. The letter is written to seven real churches that existed at the time John wrote the book. They are listed according to the order a messenger would follow in traveling to each of the cities. Though the Lord speaks to their circumstances, what is said pertains to all churches in every age. The message varies, but follows the same basic formula:
- The specific c______________ is named
- C_____________ is identified as the speaker
- He has knowledge of their d_______________
- Their f________________ to the Lord is evaluated
- He issues a c________________ that they are to follow
- He promises to r________________ those who follow Him
Ephesus (2:1-7) – the f___________ Church
Smyrna (2:8-11) – the p___________ Church
Pergamum (2:12-17) – the c_________ Church
Thyatira (2:18-29) – the c__________ Church
Sardis (3:1-6) – the s____________ Church
Philadelphia (3:7-13) – the f________ Church
Laodicea (3:14-22) – the c__________ Church