Revelation: It's a Letter!
B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, July 2, 2020
Do something few ever do: read the book of Revelation in its entirety in one sitting…it is a letter after all. Imagine yourself “in the shoes” of these seven churches, undergoing persecution by the Jews and the Roman Beast—who were often being stirred up by the Jews (e.g., Acts 13:50, 14:2, 17:13, 21:27). Peter and Paul had just been killed by Emperor Nero.
John had been banished to Patmos. The church was under attack from nearly every direction. Just hearing from John would have been an incredible blessing—knowing he was alive. This is how the John’s recipients would have read this letter.
Final appeal: Be in prayer about the church to get back to the Bible as the absolute authority in every area including issues surrounding Revelation (Revelation 1:3). Much of the church today ignores Revelation thinking it is too hard to understand, so they don’t even try.
Others in the church try to interpret the pages of Revelation in light of modern news headlines. Usually such human-based interpretations have left Christians more confused and fail to understand the basic themes in Revelation.
Few seem to realize that the pages of Scripture itself should interpret Revelation. Many Old Testament books could easily be interpreted by looking forward to New Testament books. Many suspect that Revelation should look forward to interpretations, hence looking to things outside the Bible (modern headlines for example). But with Revelation, unlike prophetic books of the Old Testament, one needs to look back over the pages of the Bible, from Moses forward, to understand its judgment and theme.
Keep in mind what this is all about too. It is not just about “some basics” about Revelation, but it is about Jesus Christ. The Triune God (one God who is three persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) made a perfect world (Genesis 1:31, Deuteronomy 32:4) and in Adam’s sin we all fell into sin (Romans 5:12) and the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23) and ultimately culminating in Hell, the eternal punishment/death (Matthew 10:28; Matthew 25:46), which is separation from all of God’s goodness and having the wrath of God upon unrepentant sinners forever (John 3:36).
But a loving God stepped into history to become a man (Philippians 2:8; Colossians 1:15-19) and die the death we all deserve (1 Corinthians 15:3). Jesus Christ did not remain in the grave, but rose again (John 10:18, Acts 10:40; 1 Corinthians 15:4) and Christians will rise again for all eternity (John 6:39-54) and enjoy a “new heavens and a new earth” with God and all of God’s goodness (Revelation 21:1-4). God now commands all people to repent (Acts 17:30).
If you likes this brief study and want to know more, there is a lot more I could suggest but in the spirit of keeping things precise, I suggest these resources:
- Baptist Pastor and Evangelist John Bray, Matthew 24 Fulfilled
- Presbyterian Minister Kenneth Gentry, ThD., The Book of Revelation Made Easy or his more technical Revelation commentary: The Divorce of Israel: A Redemptive-Historical Interpretation of Revelation (co-publishing by Tolle Lege Press and American Vision)
 For more see: Hodge, B., God is Triune, Answers in Genesis website, Feb. 20, 2008, http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/02/20/god-is-triune.