These divinely authorised words of blessing were pronounced over nineteen hundred years ago and they were recorded for the benefit of the whole Christian Church in the Revelation, the last book of the Bible. Yet, sad to say, even at this critical period in earth's history, few believers really study the book of Revelation, let alone keep those things which are written therein.
Because the Revelation is considered
by many to be a closed book, a mystery book, a book of riddles
and bewildering symbols which cannot possibly be understood by
the average believer. The result is, the book is left unopened
by the majority in the church.
Others, who profess to have studied its
pages, contend that the book is of little practical value to the
committed Christian awaiting the Secret Rapture. Why? Because
most of the events it foretells, they believe, are going to occur
after the main body of the church has been caught away
to heaven. In other words, the book need not concern true believers
because they will not be on earth when the events it predicts
come to pass. References in the Revelation to God's people,
they maintain, concern the Jews and perhaps a few Gentile converts
who have, for some reason or the other, missed the Rapture.
But it does not concern the great multitude of believers from
all over the world who acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Saviour.
Believe it or not, these are the popular
opinions many Christians hold about the book of Revelation. And
so widespread are their views that multitudes of believers know
little or nothing about this greatest of Bible prophecies. But,
are their opinions correct? Is the Revelation a mystery book of
little value to the Gentile believer today? Does it have a message
The Stewarton Bible School considers
it an inestimable privilege to place this booklet in your hands;
for we believe that the message of the Revelation was given by
the Almighty to His church to be understood. And it is
insulting God's sense of judgement to suggest that the book cannot
be understood. The very word 'revelation' means
'that which is revealed, made plain or disclosed.' The
title of the book 'The Revelation,' in other words,
is the very antithesis of mystery; so how can anyone sensibly
claim that it cannot be understood?
The book, we further, believe, has been
given to the church as a warning message; for God wants
His people to prepare themselves for the stormy future that lies
ahead. For, believe it or not, the church is not going to be
secretly caught away to heaven before the Great Tribulation.
Any believer, therefore, who persistently ignores God's warning
message, is courting disaster!
On the other hand, those who diligently
study the book of Revelation, allowing the Scriptures to interpret
themselves, will soon understand the prophecy. To their amazement
and delight they will come to find that they are in possession
of a spiritual survey map which charts the future
of humanity with awesome accuracy. Instead of the fear and uncertainty
which characterises the people of this world, they will have the
confidence and hope that belong to the enlightened people of God.
Symbolic language is used throughout
the Bible but more so in the prophetic books. The parables of
Jesus are also good examples of how symbolic or figurative
language is used to illustrate and explain spiritual realities.
When interpreting the Revelation, therefore, it is important to
first establish if the language used is literal or symbolic,
or a mixture of both. Utmost caution should be exercised here;
because if a symbol is incorrectly taken in a literal sense, confusion
will result. Similarly, if a literal object or element is mistakenly
treated as a symbol, an equally warped picture of the future will
emerge and the reader will not be prepared for the reality of
last day events when they occur.
Bear in mind also that the Revelation is a prophetic warning message given by the Almighty to the church so that all believers may prepare themselves for the final events due to occur on earth. For the plain truth is this, JEHOVAH (Yahweh) the God of Israel wants His people to be ready for the last days. He wants every member of His church to have a clear understanding of what is going to happen just before His Son YESHUA (Jesus) returns. He wants us all to know what He is doing and what He is going to allow Satan to do. The Almighty does not want us to be terrified of the future, but to be patiently confident amidst the total confusion which is going to reign when this present civilisation collapses in ruins about us. For even though Yahweh is going to protect His obedient followers in those difficult days, He still wants them to know about future events before they actually occur. The Revelation is, in short, another example of that divine trait whereby
|Amos 3:||Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.|
Yes, it is God's will that all His church know of the future; and not only that we know what to expect, but that we come into line with His will soon, so that we may be accounted worthy to escape punishment.
|Luke 21:||36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.|
Make no mistake, an understanding of the will of the Almighty God as outlined in the Revelation will be of utmost value and importance in the very last days. Indeed, your life and the lives of your family could well depend on it. Remaining wilfully ignorant is a fatal mistake. The Almighty says in Hosea.
|Hosea 4:||6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee|
Oh, how true that statement is going
to prove with this end-time generation; a generation woefully
and wilfully ignorant of the truth, yet so eager to believe any
and everything but the Word of the Almighty God.
and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. (Rev. 1:20)
is the number which represents wholeness, completeness and totality.
The messages to the seven churches therefore are for the whole
church, the entire body of believers, Jew and Gentile alike, in
all ages. It is a mistake to think that most of the messages to
the seven churches apply to the church in past ages; or that this
or that church group is the Smyrna church, the Laodicean
church, the Philadelphian church etc. For the fact is that
in every church group in all ages, there were - and still are
- individuals to whom one or more of the seven messages apply.
You may be sure that even in your own
congregation there is the Laodicean believer who is in danger
of being 'spewed out' by God. There is also the Smyrna
group who are enduring great suffering for their Lord. There are
those who classify themselves as 'Jews' (true believers)
but who are not; and there are those who have not denied the Master's
name. Yes, almost every type of believer is present in the average-sized
church group. This is as true in our day as it was in the past.
The letters to the seven churches, in other words, are for your
church group and mine.
It is not the purpose of this booklet,
however, to explain the letters to the seven churches; because
with prayerful study most believers can arrive at a good understanding
of those messages by themselves. Instead, in this booklet our
aim is to briefly outline and explain the prophecy of the Seven
Seals which is introduced in Revelation chapter four.