John Dowling devotional bible study blog

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Back To The Future

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Revelation Chapter 1: 1-6: ‘Back To The Future’ Largely based on the work of John MacArthur Be ye Blessed!!!


1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show unto His servants, the things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified (it) by His angel unto His servant John;

2. Who bare witness of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, of the things that he saw.

3. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein; for the time is at hand.

4. John to the seven churches that are in Asia; Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits that are before His throne;

5. And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.  Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood;

6. And he made us a kingdom, priests unto his God and Father; to him the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The Teaching: 10 Key points to this introduction to the book of Revelation:  

1. The Essential Nature of the Revelation (Vs 1)

What is it?  “The revelation of….”

Revelation comes from the Greek word ‘apokalupsis’ which means to uncover or unveil or a disclosure.

• Note that is the revealing of (not the hiding of)

• The book introduces its essential nature in the unveiling of or uncovering of

• It unmasks or makes visible the truth about

The book of Revelation is by most largely: miss-interpreted; miss-understood; and shrouded in mystery and confusion.  It has led to many seeing it as a closed book left to only experts or sealed, hidden and locked up.  However in Revelation 22:10 we are instructed to seal not the prophecy of this book – Seal it not! It seems God does not want us to seal it, but to know what it teaches, to be informed and blessed by His revealing it to us through the Holy Spirit’s work.

It is for this reason that this book is the only book which opens and closes with a blessing to the readers of this prophecy. It carries a blessing to the reader who hears and heads the words of this book and keeps them close to their hearts; live in light of it; for the time of the end is near or next.

It is also the last book of the divine library of books in God’s bible and is therefore the last word of God for mankind, It is how God ends the world history and begins a new chapter for those made righteous in the blood of the Lamb that was slain:

• In Genesis, we have the beginning of the created heavens and the earth.  In Revelation, we have the heavens and the earth ended at the consummation.

• In Genesis, we have the beginning of sin and the curse at the Corruption.  In Revelation, we see the end of sin and the curse and the re-instatement of blessing.

• In Genesis, we have the dawn of the activities of Satan and the demonic realm.  In Revelation, we see the doom of Satan and the demonic realm.

• In Genesis, the tree of life is lost.  In Revelation the tree of life is regained. • In Genesis, death enters the world.  In Revelation, death exits the world.

• In Genesis, sorrows begin.  In Revelation, sorrows are banished.

• In Genesis, paradise is lost.  In Revelation, paradise is restored.

• Most central to the theme of this book and the bible as a whole; in Genesis, a saviour is promised.  In Revelation, the saviour is preeminent and glorified.

Who or what does the book reveal?

• Jesus Christ is to be revealed to us in this book.

• But also an insight into the future events that are soon to take place surrounding His second coming.

We will see, as we take this epic journey, back into the future, things, which will be: • Shocking • Thrilling • Troubling • Joyful • Painful • Encouraging • Disturbing • Blessed  

2. The Central Theme of the Revelation (Vs 1) ‘Of Jesus Christ’…

• The central character of the revelation is Jesus Christ

• It is He that is being revealed to us; He is being unveiled in His full future glory.

• The Old Testament promises His first coming

• The New Testament reveals the One promised is Jesus Christ; The gospels reveal Him in His humiliation at the cross and then victorious in His resurrection and ascension to heaven. • This Revelation reveals Him in His exaltation:

(1) In His Full Blazing Glory in verses 7-20.

(2) Over the church, as its Lord in chapters 2 and 3.

(3) In His second coming, as He takes back the universe from the usurper, Satan, and establishes His kingdom in chapters 4 to 20.

(4) As He lights up the eternal state in chapters 21 and 22.

• Note NT writers eagerly anticipate this unveiling in 1 Cor. 1:7; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:7.

• He is unveiled to us in Seven Chief Images:

(1) The Risen glorified Son of God amongst the churches

(2) The Lamb in heaven with given authority to judge mankind

(3) Comes to the earth as the King of kings and Lord of lords

(4) He is the Christ

(5) He is the judge upon the great white throne

(6) He is the Lamb upon the throne of God

(7) He is the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.

He is also described as: The faithful and true witness, first-born of the dead, the Alpha and Omega and a whole lot more

• It not only reveals Jesus Christ but unveils the future events that are to place; it relates to the full reclaiming of the earth and cosmos – Jesus is about to become, in this book, king of the new heavens and the new earth – the king of the kingdom of God.

• In the Revelation the record of Philippians 2:6-11 are being played out in full.

• It is His reward for His service; God the Father’s inheritance for the glorification of His Son. There are evident tokens of this:

(1) Jesus Christ resurrection: He was raised to life. (2) He is seated at the right hand of the Father, after He ascended into heaven. (3) The sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and from then on to dwell in all believers. (4) This book, which reveals the details of what will come to pass in the future.

3. The Divine Source of the Revelation (Vs 1)

‘God gave Him’…

• The divine author is God the Father, the revelation is given to Jesus Christ.

• Because Jesus Christ submitted Himself to the will of the Father, the Father is disclosing His will for His Son to be glorified.

• It is Jesus who is about to get His reward for His service – the atonement He made on behalf of mankind.

• It is God’s record for the glorification of His Son

• It has been given to Jesus to show to His bond-servants in every age

4.  Specific Recipients of the Revelation (verse 1)

‘To show to His bond-servants’….

• His believers throughout the ages of the church age and beyond to give them a glimpse into the future; how it will all end, the glory of His kingdom, that He is sovereign and in control of all world history, and help them to hold on in perseverance and faith of His coming, despite persecutions and death for His name’s sake.

5. The Prophetic Character of the Revelation (verse 1)

‘Things which must soon take place’

• This book looks forward or ahead to the future, which starts from chapter 4 onwards. • Verse 19 shows us that the book considers things past, present and future.

• The book is laid out very carefully and in a specific chronological order, through the visions which John is given and instructed to write down.

• There is always a two-fold emphasis in this prophetic writing

(1) There is hope and joy for believers: Those who have put their hope and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and hold on to the promises God has made concerning His son, enough to go through all the difficulty and suffering that believing on Him may bring in their lives.

(2) There is also the final doom of Non-believers: Those who rejected Him and are unregenerate in life or death this book holds the finality and fury of God’s vengeance and wrath. The fate of those unforgiven of their sins will be judged and sentence will be passed on them, this final judgement will seal their eternal future without the divine protection and presence of God their creator. They will be eternally in torment.

• In John’s own words the experience of this is bitter sweet for the believer, who much more for God? Jesus wept going into Jerusalem the first time over the Israel.

• In this book it shows the fate of where mankind and this world/cosmos is heading without Christ Jesus.

• When is all this to take place? Our answer comes in verse : soon! ‘Tacos’, where we get our word taco meter from it can mean the speed and velocity of the events that unfold in their times of being released, as events unfold in this book.  But the main emphasis is rather on the soon-ness or nearness of His coming:

• His imminent return

• Next on God’s timetable of events to come to pass

• The ASV uses the phrase the time is at hand in verse 3, and could come at any moment in the future. Luke 12 says we should live our lives in the expectancy of His coming and be ready keeping our lamps burning.

• We are also told that we know not the day or hour of His coming and that it will be similar to a thief’s coming in the last watches of the night.

• We need to be ready for His soon return and live in light of it, doing and being what we were told in scripture to do – being a witness of Him who called us out, reaching the lost and sinners to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus and that the kingdom of God is near.

• Are you living as though He is coming today, tonight, who have you reached to today with the good news message? • If you have not given your heart to Jesus yet, how are you going to face that fateful day when He does? This day is coming, you need to prepare for it and be ready for it also.

6. Supernatural Delivery of the Revelation (verse 1)

‘He sent and communicated it by His angel’

• This message is being brought to us by means of angels

• In the gospels, major announcements or messages concerning Jesus Christ were given to men by means of angels and this book is making major announcements concerning Him.

• This angel was commissioned by God to give the message.

7. The Message is given to a Human Agent (verse 1 and 2)

‘To His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ even to all that He saw.’

To whom is the message of Revelation given and why?

• It was given to John, who had now been imprisoned on Patmos because of His testimony. John has been given huge honour in receiving the message from heaven because of His faithfulness in testifying to the word and more importantly the testimony of Jesus Christ – the gospel message of His atoning work.  Important to note many preach from the word of God but do not preach Christ crucified and of His resurrection.  This is the acid test of good testimony, the unity of the Old and New testaments of God’s word are concerning Christ Jesus work concerning His first and second comings.

• John is described as being a bond-servant here. In those days a slave could choose after a period of time to go free or continue to serve his master out of love in that way they bond themselves over to their master. The word servant means basically being a slave of someone else. In John’s case He was a slave to another master (Satan through sin) until He met with Jesus who set him free from that master. John, out of love for Jesus chose to only serve his new master as a bond to Him who had set him free.  Whom do you serve?

• There is great challenge for believers at the end of verse two – even to all he saw, that’s everyone he met he gave good news of Christ Jesus, are we doing the same in our walk, or is it mostly about us?

• Christ chose to give this revelation to John because of His faithful witness.  In so doing, the human agent capable to deliver this message to believers everywhere and in every age was assured.

• For John’s part, look at his response in verse 9 and other places throughout the book, ‘I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation’ that they were under. John is overwhelmed by it and can’t believe it that Jesus had chosen Him 

8. Spiritual Blessedness of the Revelation (Verse 3)

‘Blessed is He who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it, for the time is near.’

• In verse 3 and in 22:7 there is an opening and closing which carries with it a blessing to its readers, hearers and those who act upon what is written within.

• This is the only book which give a promise of blessing to those who do read, hear and heed what is written.

• In fact, there are five more blessings throughout the book: 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6 and 22:14.  These are the seven Beatitudes of the Revelation.

• It is extremely important that we read and understand this book, for it is imminently urgent that we do, for the time is near/at hand/soon/next.

• The word time refers to epochs, eras or seasons and the Revelation is therefore the next great epoch of God’s redemptive history to take place and which is described as soon.

• Despite it being soon or next, these events may be so long in coming that people will begin to question and doubt whether He will ever come: see Matt. 24:36-39; 2 Pet. 3:3-4. They may begin to carry on with life as usual not preparing and getting ready for His soon return, as in the days of Noah before the catastrophe of the global flood.

• Remember that in God’s eyes a day = a thousand years and a thousand years is as one day in eternal times. He been gone two thousand years – that is only two days to God!

• It is imminent, that’s is assuming that He comes when you are still alive, what if you die before then? If you die in your sins, then you will die held for the judgement to come at the great white throne before the one who has the power to throw you into hell, it is better to fear Him than what man can do to you in this life who have in their power to take life from the earth. Jesus’ own words.

• He is coming and it is next and it is soon.

9. Trinitarian Benediction (Verse 4 and 5)

‘From Him who was and who is to come and from the seven Spirits before the throne and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth.’

God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are writing this letter of love to the Churches in Asia and to all believers everywhere in every age. Grace and peace to you all:

• Grace that you have been forgiven and released from sin; that you are now being made into a kingdom and you are priests to God; you have access to Him; He loves us and has died on our behalf; we will soon be with Him.

• Peace that you can go through the curse of this life in the hope of the resurrection of the dead, because you died to sin in Him and He has the power to raise again to life eternal in His new kingdom; you have been freed from the curse in Him unto life forever.

• God the Father: Who was and who is and who is to come

• God the Holy Spirit: The seven Spirits before the throne?

• Seven is a unique number in this book which relates to the completeness or fullness The are seven churches, seven Spirits, seven visions, seven lamp stands, seven seals, seven trumpets and so on. The seven Spirits before the throne could be referring to the fullness or completeness of the Holy Spirit or in Isa. 11:2 it could be speaking of the seven-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit or finally in Zach.4:1-10 speaking of lamps/eyes and a key verse Not by might or power, but by My Spirit.

• God the Son verse 5: described as the faithful and true witness; first-born of the dead meaning the preeminent one, the rightful heir of all who have or will be raised to life from the dead; Ruler or king of kings; and the one who is able to forgive and release from sins.

10. Exalted Doxology (verse 6)

‘and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen!

John cannot contain his praise of God the Son who makes us to be a kingdom we through Him will receive the inheritance of the new heaven and earth, so we have nothing to fear by the events which will soon take place.

Because of Him alone who bled and died to make atonement for sin before Almighty God to make us a people made righteous through His blood.

Through Him we are priests before His God, the Father. It means we have access to the very presence of Almighty God and will live under His rule and shelter of protection – these event will not cause harm to us, who are being saved.

Is it any wonder that John who is getting this stuff breaks out into a doxology of praise of the One who makes this all possible and more importantly who does all this stuff make you feel does it make you break out into praise of Jesus Christ the one who sets free and forgives our sins, what a privilege it is to have such a blessing so undeserved bestowed upon us who have been called out from the world, what an awesome experience we will feel when we are with God Himself in the new kingdom to come.

Amen, let it be says John

What an awesome responsibility we have for we are to carry the message we have been given unto the uttermost parts of the world, so that others may freely receive this great gift given to all mankind – joy to the world for the saviour has come to save and for now we have work to do for the age whereby men can receive forgiveness for sins through repentance and faith in Him is still here, let us make haste, for the time is at hand!


Written by johnldowling

May 14, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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