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The End is Closer than You Think

(The book of Revelation is also known as “The Apocalypse.” The Greek word used in chapter 1 translated “revelation” is “apokalupsis,” which means “unveiling” not “great disaster” as we commonly think.)
Introduction to the book

"The End is Closer than You Think" 

by Betty Tracy, coming soon!

"The word “Revelation” means “to reveal.” This is not supposed to be a book of mysteries but of- well- Revelation. It has been made more confusing by incorrect scholarship of the Bible.

Many pull single verses out of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, Matthew and others and try to tack them on here. They just don’t fit.

The rule of context is that context rules. In other words, read the scriptures in the context they were written in- biblically and historically. Take into account the theme of the Bible as a whole, the message of each book as stated by the author, the specific chapters being discussed as complete works.

Don’t pull a little here and a little there and try to make sense of it.

Remember that all Old Testament passages were written 400 years or more before Christ and His disciples were even born and a whole lot of history happened in that 400 years. The vast majority of Old Testament Prophecy was obviously fulfilled during that inter-testament time.

Many say those of us who interpret this book to have already been fulfilled are symbolizing it; making Revelation symbolic instead of literal.

The fact is, no one takes the whole thing literally (no one believes there is a lamb with seven eyes, a woman flying around on a seven-headed dragon who will stand on the moon drinking blood, a monster who will rise up out of the ocean and eat a third of the people of earth, etc). The disagreement really is on what is symbolic and what isn’t.

Thankfully, John does a pretty good job of explaining the symbols if you really look at it and read what he says.

How do we know the history of the first century? We actually have several documents written by men who lived at the time. The most extensive are the works of Josephus.

This man, a non-Christian at the time of the siege of Jerusalem, was an eyewitness to the events of AD70, being a captive of the Roman army that was surrounding the walls of Jerusalem. He also spoke directly with those who were inside the wall during the siege after they were taken as slaves. He wrote his books at the request of Caesar and would have had no reason to invent things or lie. There were still too many people alive who were there and could have called him on it if he had.

This is the Gold Standard for historical documents. There is no more reliable source of information than eyewitnesses.

The first chapter of Revelation is where John records his introduction to the vision. He is ushered to the throne of God.

Chapters two and three are personal letters to physical churches in existence at that time. History tells us the stories of some of these churches later and it lines up with the predictions here.

These are NOT ages of time as the futurists/ dispensationalists say. There is no biblical proof whatsoever for this interpretation. This was an idea dreamed up in the head of some man who did not know history hundreds of years later.

The most of the rest of the Book tells about God's judgment and execution of His adulterous wife, Israel. When the covenant was originally made with Israel, God told them that if they were unfaithful to Him, He would bring a number of punishments on them, including the same punishments He had brought on Egypt at the time of the Exodus. John is telling his readers that these curses are being/are fixing to be fulfilled right then in their life time.

The last few chapters tell of God's remarriage to the Christian Church.

There is some disagreement about the time this Book was written. The most common belief is during the reign of Domitian Caesar (AD 95-96). This date is based on what Polycarp wrote which was repeated by Irenaeus (AD 130 to AD 202), and then quoted by Eusebius in AD 325.

Polycarp’s quote: "We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian's reign."

The question is, what is “that?” The name of the antiChrist? The vision? John (by Polycarp)?

Irenaeus interpreted “That” to be that the vision was given during Domitian’s reign, but Irenaeus lived some forty years after Polycarp saw “that” and was known to get other names and dates wrong anyway (He was off on the date of Christ’s crucifixion by a good 10-20 years, for example, which was inexcusable less than a hundred years after His Crucifixion). Irenaeus did not meet John, did not see the vision, but read the Book of Revelation and Polycarp’s account, and read about John at a later date.

Nero’s birth name was “Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus.” It is easy to see how, 100 years later, it could be confused with Emperor TITVS FLAVIVS CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVGVSTVS (known now as Domitian).

There is only one time in history that there was only seven churches in Asia Minor- the mid 60’s AD (when John was only around 60 years old).

Nero persecuted the churches in AD64, which fits with the persecutions mentioned in Revelation. There is no known persecution, certainly not one on such a large scale, during Domitian’s reign other than the brief mention by Ireneous.

And it is historical fact that Nero put John on Patmos. Most just say John was imprisoned there a second time during Domitian’s time, but there is no historical or biblical evidence for that except the suspect quote above.

There are many other reasons to believe John wrote this Book in about AD60-61. We will go into them as we come across them in our study.

It is noted by Kenneth L Gentry in “Revelation Made Easy” that the Gospel of John does not have an Olivet Discourse as the other Gospels do (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21). It is recorded in these other three Gospels that Jesus said His prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem would happen in the lifetime of those listening to him. Could, in fact, Revelation simply be John’s Olivet Discourse?"

Some version of the phrase "This is going to happen quickly" occurs four times in the Book of Revelation. The Book was written for human benefit. God didn't need it. If He said "quickly" when He meant "2000 years from now" God is a bad communicator.

So, the Book of Revelation is not a story for our time, but a warning of what was fixing to happen in the first century AD, just after it was given to John. The symbolism was easily understood by those who had access to the Old Testament Scriptures (the Jews and new Christian converts) but not so easily understood by John's guards in prison who we would assume read all his mail.

Revelation shoes us God's faithfulness in keeping His promises, even His promises of punishment to those who reject Him.

So, if Revelation and all the other books of prophecy are fulfilled, What's Left?