Revelation for Beginners–an Introduction

February 17, 2008 on 2:10 pm | In REVELATION FOR BEGINNERS | Comments Off on Revelation for Beginners–an Introduction

Light sabers flash, galactic forces clash, futuristic spacecraft engage in deadly combat—control of the universe is at stake. “Long ago, in a galaxy far away”—so begins one of the most famous film series of all time—Star Wars. But while the movie series is science fiction, there is in actual fact an intense struggle going on for rulership of this world, and ultimately the universe, that is definitely not fictional, a concept which may be frightening and unsettling to some. It is a struggle of cosmic proportions even though it is mostly invisible unless you know what to look for. It involves “alien” life forms, which can be seen only in rare and unusual circumstances, but which seek to influence us (and some of them even seek to destroy us)–and which make “War of the Worlds” look like child’s play. While science speculates about, and actively seeks for, life beyond our planet as we know it, the Bible pulls back the curtain, as it were, and reveals what science does not know—there are other life forms in our universe, extraterrestrials if you please. There are two “forces” at war with each other. As active, and perhaps unwilling, participants in this epic conflict, we are forced to take sides.

The challenges we face are: How can you identify the two sides? Which side is right (or does it matter)? Can we know now which side will win in the end? Why do we have to take sides? And how can we be survivors in the final episode of this real-life reality drama? This is no video game or Hollywood blockbuster—it’s for real, and our decisions determine whether life terminates for us in the near future or if we live forever on a re-born planet.

So what does this have to do with Revelation? Revelation reveals (that’s what the name means) to us the true nature of the conflict and its final outcome. Many people are afraid to study the book, notwithstanding its admonition to “read and understand,” or else they get hopelessly bogged down trying to decipher the mysterious symbolism. At the same time, there are views of end-time events portrayed in the media and recently published books that are terrible misrepresentations of the true biblical picture, with potentially fatal results. You will be able to sort out fact from fiction as a result of our study together. You will also see a picture of Jesus you’ve likely never seen before. Assuming you may be a beginner in this study, we will take time to explain everything in a user friendly way and will not fly through the book at warp speed.

Before we begin exploring this mysterious book of the Bible, there are a few pitfalls to be aware of. Some people try to interpret Revelation by reading the daily newspaper or watching the latest TV news broadcast. That can lead to highly speculative and inaccurate conclusions. It is not a biblical method. It is important to note that this book is different from most books of the Bible in that it is strongly symbolic in nature—you cannot take everything literally. We will learn how to decode these symbols. Another factor many overlook is that it borrows heavily from the Old Testament in its language and imagery—it sort of assumes you have a knowledge of the Old Testament (hereafter referred to as OT). We will need to frequently refer back to the OT for help in our interpretations. Another major tool that most people are not aware of is that the book of Daniel (also rich with prophetic symbolism) is critical in setting patterns and paradigms for the interpretation of Revelation. The connections between the two books are many. Consequently we will spend much time there in order to lay the foundation for an accurate decoding of the last book of the Bible. And since Revelation begins by saying it is a revelation of Jesus, not just by Him but also about Him, then we should also be able to get a clearer picture of Jesus, His character, and His work in our behalf as we near the close of earth-time as we now know it.

This series of studies will guide you through a galaxy of prophecies that will startle, amaze, and yet also inspire and reassure. If you take them seriously, you will never be the same again. There are also many vital spiritual lessons to be learned in this book that can help us now as well as in the future. I would encourage you to begin every study with prayer: “Lord, please give me wisdom and understanding as I study Your Word. Help me not to twist it or ignore it. Guide me in applying its principles to my daily life. Help me to see Jesus through it all. Thank you for what you will be doing to help me in this process.” This appeal to the sovereign of the universe will bring to your aid a “force,” a divine power and insight into the interpretation. Now, let’s begin!

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