The studies on Revelation are presented in three distinct sections: Revelation in the Big Picture, Studies in the Book of Revelation and related Worksheets, and a number of appendices dealing with various issues.
It is important to read and understand The Big Picture studies before working through the studies on the text of Revelation.
Eventually an additional series of studies on the Theology of Revelation will be added.
The purpose of these five studies is to understand where and how Revelation fits in and into the big picture of God’s self-revelation in the entire Scripture from Genesis right through to the end.
Revelation is not an isolated book. It has multiple connections throughout the Bible. An understanding of these connections is extremely important and also extremely helpful as we study Revelation. Seeing Revelation in this big picture sets up a boundary within which to interpret its highly symbolic content. It protects us against understanding Revelation in a way that is contrary to the teaching of Jesus and the apostles, and in a way that is contrary to the eternal plan that God set in place before the creation of the world.
These studies of the connection of Revelation with the rest of the Bible take us deep into the heart and will of God. Here we realise afresh his sovereign purpose and where we fit into it. Here we are challenged to trust in his almighty power by which he brings his eternal purpose to pass. Here we are overwhelmed by his amazing grace, his immense compassion, that put this plan in place even before we sinned.
Here in Revelation we see the culmination and the consummation of this eternal purpose of God revealed and reported throughout the Scripture.
You are in a huge media room. The walls are lined with numerous screens receiving live video feeds from multiple cameras filming an event so massive that no single camera could capture all the actions that are occurring simultaneously.
To look at only one screen is to miss most of what is going on, and also to misinterpret what you are seeing. No one screen tells the whole story. But each screen provides answers to questions provoked by other screens. Some cameras zero in on specific detail or specific characters. Others give broader focus. Some are distance shots. Others are close-ups. Zooming in, zooming out. Looking down. Looking up. And each of them is, from its own particular perspective, recording the event from its beginning to its end.
Such is the book of Revelation … read , learn and rejoice in the unfolding drama of Christ and his Church.
These studies follow the understanding taught by some scholars [for example, AA Hoekema, William Hendriksen and Leon Morris], that the book of Revelation is not a linear account of consecutive events described in the order in which they will occur, but rather contains seven parallel accounts of the one extended period of time. While there is a small degree of disagreement as to which verses in Revelation start or finish these parallel accounts, there is overall agreement within this viewpoint that each of these seven parallel accounts spans the time between the first coming to the second coming of Jesus Christ. Each account has its own specific emphasis or dominant focus, but each also covers the entire church age. Each is about the inauguration and the consummation of the Kingdom, and the time in between.
In these studies, the seven parallel accounts follow the Chapter divisions suggested by Hendriksen, with my summary title of their key focus:
Revelation 1:9 – 3:22 - Jesus Christ in the Midst of his Church
Revelation 4 – 7 - Jesus Christ – the Focus of Universal Praise
Revelation 8 – 11 - The Church of Jesus Christ in the World
Revelation 12 – 14 – The Enemies of Jesus Christ and his Church
Revelation 15 – 16 – The Wrath of God and of the Lamb
Revelation 17 – 19 - Jesus Christ – King of kings, Lord of lords
Revelation 20 – 22:6 - Jesus Christ and his ‘Bride’.
© Rosemary Bardsley 2015
These simple worksheets are provided for use in study groups where the Studies in Revelaiton are considered too advanced for the group participants. The Worksheets do not contain teaching content; study leaders will need to provide teaching content from the Studies in Revelation.
These appendices are provided to address some of the controversial issues that arise when Revelation is studied or discussed.
The book of Revelation is a rich source of truth, providing us with a broad wealth of understanding across many theological topics. It affirms with great clarity and power those biblical facts that we, with our human pride and our vulnerability to deception, often question: facts like the sovereignty of God, the assurance of salvation and the utter security of the redeemed, the reality of God's wrath and judgment and the fate of the unredeemed, the existence of the enemy.
This series of studies on Revelation will eventually present a range of aspects of the theology of Revelation, including what Revelation teaches about God, about Jesus Christ, about salvation, about sanctification, about the Church, about judgement, about angels and about Satan and demons, about 'heaven'.
It would not be wrong to state that Revelation contains the whole of Scripture: the whole of God's truth in condensed form. For it is all here in this one book, this final book, this final unveiling, this final revealing in which God, the high and holy One, speaks to us humans.