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If I knocked on your door and heralded with great joy, 'Messias has returned; come and see,' would you jump up and prepare to follow me, would you be curious, or would you think I was mad? If I told you that the appearance and confirmation of the promised Comforter is documented in a book that was written about two thousand years ago, would you settle back in your seat, suspect I was trying to deceive you, turn away, and go back to what you were doing? Christian and Jew alike are waiting for someone to come and save them from the prison of ignorance, and all this time the door has been unlocked!
Jesus promised his disciples in his day, "This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled" (Luke 21:32). This book explores the best evidence we have that Jesus kept his promise when he delivered evidence of the Comforter to all mankind in Saint John's book of Revelation.
True to historic precedent,
the answers are neither the handout nor the form that we expected.
St. John waited expectantly for six decades to realize the substance of this statement, confirming Jesus' provocative comment to Peter about him: "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me" (John 21:22). According to several records, John's enemies did everything they could think of to destroy him, including lowering him into a pot of boiling oil, but he turned every attack into a blessing. Instead of dying as they expected, he was invigorated by the ordeal. Never giving in to malice, witnesses said they could hear him singing hymns amidst the flames. John's reputation grew so powerfully that the news could not be contained, so he was removed to the island of Patmos, which was a rock-quarry prison. Through his harassment, defamation of character, attempted murder, and confinement, he rejoiced. He said that he was on Patmos "for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." It was there that he received and faithfully recorded the unveiling of Jesus Christ.
Was this John's reward for such
faithful service, that he would be the first to document the
appearance of the Comforter? Is it possible that his preparation
and revelation represent a pattern that must repeat itself in
every individual? If so, it is a universal phenomenon and one
If the Children of Israel, four hundred years enslaved in Egypt, had known in advance the pathway out of their own depravity, perhaps they would not have taken so long to free themselves. If Christians today know the end from the beginning, perhaps they will strive more vigorously to follow Jesus in the way: healing the sick, rousing the dead, cleansing contagion, and casting out devils. Christ promised that 'I' will come to you - the 'I,' divine Love, will reveal all things to you. Six decades after his ascension, Jesus' presence returned to John. Are we dismayed because the description of that revealing is not easily apprehended? Do we read it once, close the book, and walk away, waiting for our ignorance to be rewarded? Jesus demanded us to work it out, not wait it out! The spiritual symbols described in the Revelation require persistent effort and deep spiritual insight to be understood. When you are ready, you will discover that it is well worth the effort. Revelation is the unveiling of Life, Truth, and Love that dawns on each one of us as we realize our proper place and identity as sons and daughters of God.
Scripture traces the evolution
of man's quest to understand the meaning of life. Like artists
painting grand scenes, prophets translate holy visions into identifiable
symbols and written metaphors, which become more meaningful and
detailed as the spiritual import is better understood. Abraham
built an altar on a mountaintop and prepared it for human sacrifice
to illustrate his conviction that God is Father. Noah foresaw
the need to build an ark, illustrating how God protects the good
from drowning in a sea of wickedness. Jacob built a rock pillar
as a reminder to himself, and a declaration to all, that God
was there. Moses built a temple in the wilderness, where the
holy of holies and the ark of the testimony presented visible
assurance of the Mind of God. As a symbol of man's perception
of himself, the outer veils, which were made of animal skins,
simulate the body's skin and flesh, but from the inside, the
temple is found to be the abiding place of spiritual law - the
center of divine intelligence. The Virgin Mary conceived the
idea of man as Messiah and brought forth Jesus, the highest symbol
of Godlikeness appreciable to humanity. Jesus offered evidence
of man's divine nature and immortality by his works, his teaching,
his resurrection, and his ascension.
The apostle John recorded the
first evidence we have of the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy
that would "bring all things to your remembrance."
This Revelation includes a description of man's journey from
ignorance and sin to the sublimity of New Jerusalem and the end
of time - from mental depravity to the ascension. Once we begin
to see the spiritual meaning behind the symbols, we can reflect
back and see how poignantly accurate were the primitive depictions.
THE TRUE COMFORTER
Being "in the Spirit on the Lord's day," turning and seeing it for oneself as John did on Patmos, is the only way to receive the true interpretation of Scripture. To achieve that ultimate objective, we must begin with a meek and contrite heart, looking away from a physical sense of earth and man, standing mentally still like Moses at the Red Sea. We must be willing to give up all - everything of this world - in order to gain the peace, joy, and life we are seeking. The book of Revelation assures us that there is no question of our redemption; we have no choice, for we are the image and likeness of God now. What it takes for us to realize this fact is presented symbolically in St. John's book. The honorable part of us will readily turn, allow ourselves to be cleansed, and rejoice in beholding the truth of being, while the ignoble part will experience all the plagues written in this book until it is forced to admit the truth of being. As we discover the key and begin to unlock its secrets, the Revelation of Jesus Christ becomes an open book.
For centuries prior to Jesus' arrival, the Jews were expecting a messiah: one who would come, destroy their enemies, and restore Jerusalem and the Promised Land politically and beneficially back to them exclusively. Very few people in Jesus' day recognized him as the Messiah or the Christ because he was not what they were expecting. Because of man's craving for physical solutions rather than spiritual peace, he is still trying to petition God to intervene in the affairs of this world. This common propensity seeks a literal interpretation of Revelation, attempting to associate the accompanying symbols with physical places, times, and people.
There is not a shred of evidence that Jesus concerned himself with such things as who governed Rome or who owned what piece of land. The great exemplar owned nothing, sought no political or religious office, and held none. Why would he, six decades after his ascension, be concerned with man's affairs? Here on earth, he played the part of an elder: serving the needs of the local people by transforming them from within, teaching them to love impartially, and encouraging them to leave all and follow in the way. Should not we suspect that his revelation would continue preparing the hearts of his students with higher and more spiritual lessons?
Revelation is presented to us as a Christ helpmeet. Attracting and gathering lost sheep requires two strategies: first, we are drawn by the sweetness and comfort of the message; and second, we are bridled to keep us from our propensities (wicked inclinations) until we learn to live by grace alone and to love it. The great Teacher taught both the beauty of holiness and the wretchedness of evil. He "loved righteousness, and hated iniquity" (Heb. 1:9).
Revelation is not written like a novel designed with a surprise or mysterious climax. The end is clearly stated at the beginning, although we may fail to recognize it. In an orderly scientific way, each vision magnifies the previous one, as though the reader is repeatedly peering through a microscope with ever more powerful lenses until the mystery of evil is exposed and man's true identity comes into focus. As the visions unfold, previously unrecognized harmonies of prophecy and fulfillment begin to be heard for the first time.
Symbols, patterns, and sequences are highly important. The seven days of creation in Genesis sets the standard. In the first chapter of Genesis, creation begins with light and gradually develops over six days into higher forms of goodness until the highest state - man, made in the image and likeness of God - is seen and acknowledged. The number six, or the sixth message, event, or vision is a key or pinnacle concept, which inevitably brings on an epoch change, a grand mental chemicalization, or a failed threat of evil. The seventh in the sequence presents the solution or a new state of being and wholeness or a mirror opposite of these. "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day" (Gen. 2:2). Seven is a prime number and stands for indivisibility. This resting expresses the completeness of creation, a realization of one whole infinite being.
It is significant that the first
presentation of creation in Genesis records the universe from
God's point of view.
Therefore, man who is made as image and likeness of the divine 'I,' or Us, is a God-projected man.
Beginning in Genesis 2:4, a
second and distinctly different record presents creation as an
inverted image of the first. Here, man is created at the beginning
and is made of dust from beneath rather than light from above.
In this instance, Lord God, Jehovah, is God from man's vantage
point: a composite of beliefs and conclusions drawn from the
experiences of the early Jewish nation. This is a
The Revelation restores creation to its original record, exchanging man's view of God for God's view of man. Is not this the Comforter bringing all things to our remembrance? When our orientation is correct, we will acknowledge God's vision of us and rest in this grand fact on the seventh day. Perhaps perfection seems too optimistic and even impossible to achieve, but why this awkwardness since Jesus commanded us to go and sell all that we have, follow him, and be perfect. Do we really want to be that good? Yes . . . and no.
The letters to the churches in Chapters 2 and 3 are introductory descriptions of all the challenges and solutions that are presented in greater detail in the following chapters.
Chapters 4-12 proceed from the
vantage point of spiritual receptivity - a yearning desire to
know God and a willingness to do whatever is required to attain
that knowledge. Revelation affirms that those who attain grace
These contrary views are not two separate personalities. We can, at the one moment, desire to grow in grace, and at another, vehemently oppose any change that would expose our secret faults. When the human mind gives up all personal desires and attains the gift of grace that Christ presents, then the invitation to the marriage appears followed by the millennium and ascension (Chapters 19-21). Chapter 22 is a restatement of every idea of the Revelation, joining the end to the beginning.
OUTLINE OF THE REVELATION
Revelation includes an introduction, seven letters to seven churches, seven visions, and a recapitulation.
ORGANIZATION AND LAYOUT OF THIS BOOK
The earliest discovered manuscript of Revelation is written in Greek. There are no lower case letters. There is no space between words, and no punctuation. It is left to our understanding of the text to decipher it properly. Here is a translation as it appears in English.
Due to different conventions inherent in each language, some words were added to the King James Version as it was thought necessary. These additions are italicized as in the following:
"His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire" (Rev. 1:14).
Also, punctuation choices by the translators affect the reading of the text. In some cases, alternative phrasing may improve one's ability to perceive the original meaning. For example, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" implies that some may not have ears to hear. However, "He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" implies that it is within everyone's capability to hear Spirit's message.
I have not changed any words or punctuation in the King James text, but I have reformatted the printing, adding italics or bold type in order to emphasize important words and phrases.
Each chapter of this book includes
the Authorized King James Version of Revelation in its entirety,
an explanatory introduction, and a verse-by-verse interpretation.
Some verses are restated in contemporary English, some provide
explanatory background information, and some are the result of
deep spiritual insights or visions received by the author.