Tuesday, May 29, 2012

THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION LESSON 1 INTRODUCTION In this lesson, we will look at the purpose and primary themes of the Book of the Revelation. It is the strong, prophetic Word of God, history written in advance, to help every believer to walk victoriously in what will be the darkest hour in human history. TEACHING 1. THE PURPOSE OF THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION A. The book of the Revelation records in great detail God’s aggressive plan to take over the kingdoms of the earth through His Son the Lord Jesus. It reveals the heart and leadership of Jesus at the end of this present age like no other book in scripture. Consequently, the book of the Revelation gives us more information on the end times than any other book in the Bible. B. Many people avoid reading and studying the book of the Revelation either because they don’t understand it, or because they can’t reconcile the loving Jesus with the Warrior-King who releases such devastating judgments upon the earth during the Great Tribulation period. But when rightly understood, this prophecy is designed to fill us with hope and confidence. The Church will be victorious, both in the midst of the Great Tribulation and afterwards, as we rule and reign with Christ during His millennial kingdom. C. The content of the book of the Revelation was not given to terrify us, confuse us, or to be something to stir up centuries of academic debate! It is called the “Revelation of Jesus” (1:1) because it reveals His heart and brilliant leadership. Secondarily, it is a book about events in the end times, and it gives us understanding of the great shakings that are going to be released upon the earth at the very end of the age. The Father gave us this book to reveal the beauty of His Son, and to help us prepare for all that is to come, so that we would endure until the end (2 Thessalonians 2:3). D. The book of the Revelation could be seen as an end time prayer manual to prepare the Church for the events of the end times. It is the end-time book of Acts, given to us in advance, so that we may walk in a unified prayer focus. Revelation is a record of the acts of the Holy Spirit through the end- time Apostles and prophets. E. As Moses released the plagues on Egypt through prayer in the book of Exodus, and as the first apostles released God’s power through prayer in the Book of Acts, the end-time judgments will be released in agreement through the praying church. F. It is my belief that God is now, currently, preparing the end-time intercessors, prophets, and apostles for the times that are coming. These ministries and ministers will be crucial in helping to lead the Church through the difficult and yet glorious days ahead. This season of preparation that has been so rigorous and hard may be an indicator that the days of the book of the Revelation are close at hand! “You are not what you need to be now, but you will be when the time comes!” We are approaching the time of the greatest darkness and light that the World has ever witnessed. Therefore, stay the course and allow the Holy Spirit to complete in you what needs to be completed. He will not rest until the “wineskins” of the last day Church are ready! G. The book of the Revelation is focused on four things: 1. The character and personality of Jesus as the heavenly Bridegroom, King, and Judge. 2. God’s action plan to take over the earth. 3. The role of the Church in partnering with Jesus to release the judgments of God. 4. The Church’s necessary preparation to endure and overcome in the midst of great trouble. H. Studying the book of the Revelation is essential for believers. It provides important information to prepare us to persevere through the greatest season of tribulation the Church has ever known. I. Revelation is unique in being the only book in the Bible in which God promises a special blessing to those who read, hear, and keep the words of the prophecy, as well a curse to anyone who adds to or takes from it. The primary way in which believers will be blessed is by being equipped to over- come in the darkest hour of human history. J. The book of the Revelation does not picture the people of God escaping the Great Tribulation through a secret rapture. Nor does it picture the Church defeated by the devil or offended with the temporal judgments of Christ. In contrast, Revelation paints a picture of a glorious Bride who stands victorious in the midst of great trouble as she worships her heavenly Bride- groom. K. In the final years before Jesus returns, the Church will undergo unparalleled tribulation, which will be cut short by the return of Jesus. The picture is not of a bride that is simply enduring trouble while she waits to be rescued by her heavenly Bridegroom. Rather, this time of trouble is the Church’s most glorious hour, in which she shines in bright righteousness and partners with the Lord, in releasing His judgments against unrighteousness. L. The book of the Revelation is a call for the Church to overcome in the midst of the darkest hour of human history. During this time, the rage of Satan, the wickedness of man, and the temporal judgments of God will be released on the earth in fullness. M. Revelation chapter one spells out many amazing truths about the majesty of Jesus that are meant to equip our hearts to overcome in times of great trouble. The letters to the seven churches in Revelation chapter two and three focus on the issues of overcoming in the midst of persecution and divine delay. The remainder of the book contains critical information to help the Church makes sense of circumstances, and stay faithful in the midst of greatest time of trouble that the world has ever seen. N. The Lord will use this time of trouble to purify His Bride and cause her to shine with His glory and righteousness. The book of the Revelation is the story of the ultimate triumph of the Saints over all of her enemies. At the end of the story, the Lord does not come to deliver a defeated Bride, but people who have made themselves ready to meet their King. O. As we enter into understanding the message of the book of the Revelation, we will be empowered to overcome in the midst of tribulation, as God brings us into agreement with His plan and purpose. Those who overcome will be those who know their Godd and remain faithful to Him, despite the fierce assault of the enemy.