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Reading Revelation- 1

Shawn Boonstra


Shawn Boonstra

Speaker/Director for the Voice of Prophecy media ministry.



  • January 25, 2015
    11:30 AM
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mystique about the book of Revelation that almost makes it seem like it's off-limits like it's describing something just beyond the grasp of human comprehension so for generations people shied away from the book as if nobody can really understand it until the last few moments of this Earth 's trouble history but that's a concept I want to challenge on today's episode of the voice of prophecy so stick around because to date within a start reading through the book of Revelation him to it was really a paraphrase which is a man-made rewording of the Bible in simple language but for a kid it was great reading and the language was close enough to the original that I actually got a sense for what the Bible was saying in I remember reading my way through that Bible because the stories really stored my imagination and then I found the book of Revelation which really stirred my imagination with files full of God 's anger and a beast that climbs up out of the sea and this antichrist prostitute who manages to bring the whole world under her seductive spellbinding what kid wouldn't find it interesting is the kindest thing that makes Harry Potter the hunger games seem kind of weak by comparison and as a kid I read revelation and I reread Revelation and at one point I remember I ran out to the backyard and looked up into the sky to see is Jesus coming up because I've seen this bit in Revelation where Jesus says behold I come quickly and as far as I was concerned as a kid that meant right now I was fully expecting something to happen right away but exactly what that's was I had no idea because it really didn't understand the whole book like millions of other people I sensed that the content and revelation is important that it's supposed to be telling me something but I had no idea how to figure it out and then to make matters worst ever all these people to use the book of Revelation to backup their own personal ideas and a comparable at all these different people were saying I discovered none of them actually agree with each other and it left me wondering is the book of Revelation like an old piano or violin can you just take this thing and play any tune you want Ginny interpret this to any which way you clicked instinctively I knew that couldn't possibly be true I mean the rest of the Bible was so profound so meaningful that I refuse to believe that the book of Revelation was just some kind of meaningless appendix some kind of joke that got tacked onto the end to confuse people if a revelation made it into the canon of Scripture it has to mean something the first people who read the seven churches mentioned in the opening chapters they must've understood what it said or I doubt they would've bothered passing it on to the next church and I doubt that would have a copy today the other books that John wrote ourselves profound so meaningful that I also doubt John would've attached his name to this book full of wild imagery unless it means something but what exactly is it what does it mean can you even figure it out I remember that really came to a head for me during the first Gulf War back in the early nineteen nineties when the news channels were suddenly full of these video clips tracer bullets lighting up a dark green sky over the middle east and preachers were practically going into orbit declaring that the battle of Armageddon was about to begin people were talking about the threat to Israel house a dam Hussein was the drops got missiles on Jerusalem and help the Russians would get involved in World War III was breakdown and well if you won't religiously inclined you probably remember all the hype and all the people who gave us the height but they were dead wrong there was a World War III there was no battle of Armageddon and all those people who were so busy quoting Revelation they just disappeared into the woodwork and they wait for the next major crisis to break out so they can get started again it was at that moment during the first Gulf War that I became determined I was going to figure it out surely the book of Revelation isn't just meant to fuel crazy conspiracy theories and surely Christians are meant to jump from one wild conclusion to the next somehow I knew that book means something and that's when I discovered that for more than eighteen hundred years Christians have been in virtual agreement about how to read the book of Revelation it's only in the last few generations that we've made the book confused if you go back in time and read what Luther said or what the early church fathers said or guys like Isaac Newton the great scientist if you've read what these people said you discover that while many Christians differed on the fine details there was almost universal agreement on the general concept they all approach the book of Revelation the same way and if you ever want to see how much agreement the really was I highly recommend that you get your hands on a copy of Francis Nickles monumental volumes the prophetic faith of our fathers it's this detailed history for volumes of what people said about Daniel revelation from the earliest days the church right up to the twentieth century now I've got to warn you those four volumes aren't exactly light reading it's actually thousands and thousands of pages those pages are worth every minute you might spend reading the picture Mister Nichols paints is astonishing most of us as Christians used to agree on the interpretation of Bible prophecy and sometime in the early eighteen hundreds in all changes it's really only been for the last two hundred years or so that we've have such a vast diversity of opinion and it's really only been the last one hundred years or so that we've been jumping from one wild conclusion to the next changing our minds about Bible prophecy of her time the headlines change let me assure you it wasn't always like this and I'm convinced there's actually a reason there's so much confusion I don't Assam a conspiracy theory but I'm convinced that someone doesn't want you to know what the book of Revelation says that there are people and movements out there who stand to lose a lot if you suddenly read the book of Revelation as you actually understand so here's what I'm going to do from time to time see you on the voice of prophecy and maybe not every week but with some regularity were going to start working our way through the last book of the Bible because I want to show you that understanding revelation isn't nearly as hard as you think there are basic tools and concepts that if you have them the book of Revelation would almost read as easily as any other book of the Bible and were to start doing that today by dispelling some important myths about this book so if you've got a Bible laying around the house somewhere you might want to run and grab it and follow the law because in just a few minutes within a start in Revelation chapter one and look at some really important ideas some foundational concepts and I'm going to get you started down the road to really understanding revelation so go get your Bible and I'll be back in just a moment no I'm seeing the strap is used searching for answers to life 's half his questions where is God when we suffer today find real happiness or is there any hope for our chaotic world are you searching for answers to these and other of life 's most challenging questions while the Discover Bible guide for how you are to your liking for Elizabeth and Bible studies .com give us a call at eight eight eight four five six seven nine three three for your free Discover Bible guide study online on our secure website or have the free guides mailed right to your home there is never a cost or obligation the Discover Bible guides are truly free gift to you freelancers think I'd like to have my life really matter to God and a second chance at life your finances to the things that matter the most to you in each of the twenty six Discover Bible guide visit Bible studies .com and begin your journey today to discover answers to life 's deepest questions okay we are back from the break I'm Sean Boonstra your host you are listening to the voice of prophecy and today were to start working our way through the book of Revelation and America spent a lot of time looking at what this preacher says what that preacher says or what this books as a root that books is I'm just going to deal with the text of Revelation itself and we must start giving you some simple keys that will open up the book and what you never dreamt possible so let's begin at the beginning with Revelation chapter one right up at the very top and was you how far I get before actually run out of time to do so Revelation one verse one listen to what exists the revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his servants things which must shortly take place down let me stop right there for a moment and identify a couple of really important concepts stuff you're going to need to understand before you can really understand the rest of the book in a lot of copies of the Bible especially the older ones there's a title at the top of this book that says the Revelation of John or the revelation of St. John the Divine or something like that and really that's a pretty title because the book was offered by the apostle John while he's a prisoner on the Isle of Patmos but I don't want you to forget that title above the book is a man-made title it was created by the translators who needed a title for the book but that title is not actually a part of the letter that John wrote in fact I kind of think John might be appalled if he knew what we labeled the book because he states point blank in his first few words this is not the Revelation of John it's the revelation of Jesus this is not about him it's about Christ and unless you really take that concept to heart you're not going to get to the heart of what revelation is saying this is not a book about the Antichrist this is not a book about war or pestilence or hard times even though John absolutely mentions those kinds of things this is first and foremost a book about Jesus it's the revelation of Jesus Christ that you can actually understand that title in two different ways you can understand it to mean that it's a revelation from Jesus to John which is something that's actually stated in the next few words or you could understand it to mean that it's a revelation of Jesus a description of who he is and in both cases you'd be absolutely right but unless you read the whole book with the idea that you're looking for Jesus he will never understand this stuff so let's get back to the text and start again from the very top Revelation one verse one the revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his servants things which must shortly take place and he sent it and signified it by his angel to his servant John who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ to all things that he saw so look at the line of transmission for a moment the way this book came to us this whole book is a message from God to resurface a message from God to the human race and right off the bat that ought to tell you that this book is not supposed to be a mystery God is not in the habit of stuttering God doesn't make himself unclear when he speaks he intends for people to listen sometimes God will couch his message in a format that really makes you think just like with Jesus teaching in parables sometimes God uses metaphors and symbols to help us understand the concepts and that's the case with the book of Revelation it is a signified book it's a book of signs or symbols and one of the tools you need to understand this book is a basic grasp of what those symbols actually meant to John back in the first century you want to be careful that you don't take modern understanding and apply it to this book what one of the big mistakes we make is when we take the symbols of revelation and try to understand them in terms of 21st-century thinking self for example some people might be tempted when they see an eagle mentioned in Revelation twelve to think that it must be a reference to the United States because while the Eagle as their national symbol but don't forget the United States did not exist in the first century it didn't really exist for almost another eighteen hundred years so we got a be careful that we don't read something into a symbol in Revelation that the first century church couldn't possibly give understood this book is written in first century language its biblical language its biblical symbolism one of the greatest keys to understanding what Revelation is about is to simply let the Bible define its own terms when you read through the whole Bible you start to see the same symbols John uses being used in other books and more often than not books will tell you exactly would John understood by that simple John used language that was widely understood by a biblically illiterate audience and actually something like two thirds of the imagery used in Revelation actually comes from other parts of the Bible so what does that mean for you it means that unless you read the whole Bible you're never going to understand Revelation Alanna Schomburg you mean I have to read the whole book will give you you do if you want to get past the wild speculation of all the sensationalistic TV preachers you have to read it all from Genesis all the way through the end because the book of Revelation is the capstone of the Bible it's the summer the closing argument it really uses the language in stories of the whole Bible to make its big points it uses stories from Genesis to use the language of Exodus and Jeremiah and he seized it uses the story of Elijah I made it uses everything and the place it borrows from most is the book of Daniel which is kind of a companion book of Revelation in fact there is so much overlap between Daniel and Revelation that you can practically use those two books alone to explain each other now you want to read the whole Bible but those two especially go together if there's something in Daniel you don't understand look for the same sign or symbol in revelation and chances are it's going to explain it and it's true in the other direction too if there's something in revelation you don't understand go look for that symbol and Daniel and it might just explain again the bottom line is that you have to read the whole book there's just no way around it there is no shortcut that's the kind of effort it takes to understand what it said fortunately I've got all kinds of tools that will help make that task easier and more productive not the least of which is our discover Bible course which you can have an will be free of charge just give it to you because I really want you to have the same opportunity I've had to understand what's going on in books like Daniel and Revelation so you want to make sure you have a pen and paper handy because in just a few minutes I'll give you the information you need to get your first lesson delivered to you but for now even before you get your Discover course let's go back to Revelation chapter one and we made our way down now to verse three which has some of the most important information were going to read today it is revelation one first three Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in but the time is near I stop and ask one simple question may does that verse verse three does it sound like the book of Revelation is supposed to be a ministry I mean if you arrive were never supposed to understand this book why would God say that were blessed if we read why would he say that were blessed if we hear what it says and keep or do what it says that doesn't make sense so to all those preachers who told us and for generations now they told us she can't understand this book that it's some kind of imperceptible cosmic ministry I say nonsense that's not the truth the book of Revelation actually starts with the promise that you can understand it starts with a triple blessing pronounced by God himself on anybody who reads it here's it and does what it says those three things reading securing and doing are absolutely critical if you hope to understand this book so here's what I'm going to do I'm going to take a short breaks you can get your free copy of the Discover Bible course and then when I come right back and unpack Revelation one verse three just a little bit more and I don't did you this don't you go away I'll be right back hello I'm jingling stress you feel as if you have more questions than answers in your life I used searching for answers to some of life 's biggest questions while the Discover Bible guides can help you find the answers you're looking for is a desktop Bible studies .com or call at eight eight eight four five six seven nine three three for your free Discover Bible guide to the Bible study .com and begin your journey today to discover answers to license deepest questions okay we are back from the break and today we started to read our way through the book of Revelation which is something that I'll probably do often on over a number of weeks and I guess the reason I really want to do this is because it was the prophetic books of the Bible Daniel revelation it was those books that finally demonstrated to me in no uncertain terms that the Bible is not like the other books on your shelf this is not just ancient mythology this is not just a bunch of religious propaganda this really is the voice of God to the human rights once you see what prophecy says what you seen the intricate layers and the astonishing way that it lays out the history of the world in advance and I mean it lays it out in specific detail overs just no way that you can dismiss the Bible does some work of fiction yet most people never have the opportunity to really read and understand this stuff because most of what we get on revelation the books of movies and TV specials most of it is nothing more than sensationalism designed to push books and videos it makes somebody out there a lot of money was honestly the book of Revelation is not that hard to understand you've really can get this if you start to understand how what was written and how John would've understood the symbols he was using the day he wrote them down one of the biggest keys to understanding is text to read every verse of revelation in the wider context of the book of Revelation and you've also got to read every verse in the wider context of the entire Bible because the language and symbols that John uses were widely understood the day he wrote them down his audience gone now just before we took the break we were looking at revelation one verse three which makes it absolutely clear that God intends for you would be to understand this book so let's read it one more time just in case there's still someone out there who thinks that we were never meant to understand Revelation here it is Revelation one verse three one more time blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it for that time is the now those three things mentioned in that verse are absolutely critical if you're going to develop the skill you need to understand what John is writing you've got to read it which is kind of a no-brainer you've got to share it also a no-brainer and then it's just you have to do something about what you were reading and really those three concepts that they seem obvious at first but they run deeper when you look at the more carefully when John says that God will bless people who read the book of Revelation is actually referring to the ancient practice of reading this book out loud I mean this book was originally a letter addressed to seven real churches in Asia minor roughly the place were modern Turkey is now located it was written in a day and age without a printing press or a photocopier and Shawn expected the leader in each church to stand up and read this whole book out loud which means that if you really want to get the original flavor of this book you should probably find a quiet place and read it out loud imagine yourself in an ancient church and it's your job to read this letter to the rest of the congregation and well actually really helps your comprehension level and really it's more than just reading it out loud this also suggests that the book of Revelation is meant to be share it's meant to be discussed between people it's one thing to learn what it says but it's another thing to share what you're learning with someone else there's something that happens when you take the ideas presented in the Bible and discussed up with other like-minded people not only does your own personal understanding go through the roof you also start to absorb the ideas into your person they become a part of your thinking they mold your character they make you a little more like Christ so sharing the book of Revelation reading it out loud that's a key strategy for understanding but so is steering the book according to John and it doesn't just mean you let the sound waves bounce off your your drops when the Bible says that God blesses people who hear the book of Revelation it's really using that word the same way your mom did which they clean your room and then said did you hear me it doesn't mean to just listen it means take what it says to heart because if you have no intention of taking God 's wisdom to heart if you no intention of doing something with the information got presents then there's no point in studying this because this is not just a book of interesting facts this is an intimate detailed revelation of God 's son and is designed to change your life and pull you closer to God himself it's designed to make you more like Jesus so if you're going to read this book and really understand it you have to start with a determination to take it to heart so read it and she wrote and then it says that God will bless people who keep the words of the prophecy people who actually do something about what they hear the blessing doesn't really come from memorizing a bunch of prophetic facts it doesn't come from marveling at how God manages to predict the future with some Marco received the real blessing comes from altering the course of your own life to match the direction that God is going with the whole human race the blessing comes from aligning yourself with the will of God and doing something about the things that God is showing you so one more time let's read those first three verses in Revelation chapter one and let's pretend we're in Asia minor and you're actually sitting in church and the preacher gets up and says I have a message from John I got a letter that he wants me to read you that would be very exciting stuff so in your imagination in your mind 's eye let's go back to the first century here it is again Revelation chapter one the revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave him to show his servants things which must shortly take place and he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ to all things that he saw blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy and keep those things which are written in it for the time is near how exciting would that be I think you get a message from God I'm telling you once you start to see what this book actually says what you start to comprehend its key message you're going to find that this is just as powerful just as relevant for your life today as it was for that first audience two thousand years ago so got a challenge for you this week I want you to take the first few chapters say Revelation chapters one two and three and I want you to go and find a quiet place and read those three chapters out loud take a pad of paper write down notes write down your thoughts is your reading and specifically ask God to show you what he's trying to say then over the next two weeks as we need to give us your own this program will go through those three chapters and look at the historical context so that you can really grasp what it's saying and make it part of your own life will take a little bit of time in Chapter one and really look at some important detail there and then we'll look at the messages to the seven churches so that your homework assignment read chapters one two and three and in the meantime you might want to go and sign up for the Discover Bible course which I'm offering at absolutely no cost to it really is yours just for the asking in half a moment my wife Jean is going to give you the information you need to get your first lesson delivered to you so away they go go do your homework and next week I'll be back with the next installment will go a little bit further into Revelation chapter one and until then thank you for listening I'm Sean Boonstra and this is been the voice of prophecy so I'm seeing things just well just like Sean I can remember my early readings of the book of Revelation college met my reading created more curiosity and questions and get answers the language of the book can be overwhelming without a guide so I'm glad you joined us as they begin to study together to the book of Revelation it's a message of hope from our Savior Jesus and the promise of his soon return like you have a lot of questions and curiosity about the Bible like I did and I know where you can begin to find answers to discover Bible guides will help you find the answers that you are looking for visit asset Bible studies .com get us a call at our toll-free number eight eight eight four five six seven nine three three for your free Discover Bible guide to twenty six Discover guides cover a whole range of subjects including the ones we've been talking about today guide well my favorite shares the message of Scripture that we have an ever present behavior and in guide number ten discover the answer to a vital question how soon will Jesus return study online at our website Bible studies .com or have the free guides mailed right to your home there is never a cost or obligation they discover Bible guides are well free gift to you and while you're online be sure to visit us at VOP .com DLP .com you'll find audio archives of this program in the latest ministry news and resources to help you dig deeply into God 's word and did you know that you can listen to this program right from your smartphone or tablet should want to search for voice of prophecy in your favorite store and download a free and give us a call at eight eight eight four five six seven nine three three visit us online to begin your journey to discover answers to life the question him and him and him and


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