BibleProject New Testament Series - Lesson 31

Revelation (Part 1) - BibleProject

In this lesson, you will learn about the book of Revelation. The historical and literary context, authorship, date, purpose, and genre of the book are discussed. The structure, outline, major themes, and images of Revelation are examined. You will also be introduced to different interpretive approaches to Revelation, including the preterist, futurist, idealist, and historicist views. Finally, the application of Revelation to our personal lives, the church, and culture is explored.

Taught by a Team
Taught by a Team
BibleProject New Testament Series
Lesson 31
Watching Now
Revelation (Part 1) - BibleProject

I. Introduction to Revelation

A. Historical and Literary Context

B. Authorship and Date

C. Purpose and Genre

II. Overview of Revelation

A. Structure and Outline

B. Major Themes and Images

III. Interpretive Approaches to Revelation

A. Preterist View

B. Futurist View

C. Idealist View

D. Historicist View

IV. Application of Revelation

A. Personal Application

B. Church Application

C. Cultural Application

  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the literary design, purpose, themes, and messages of each book in the New Testament, including the four Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, epistles of Paul, general epistles, and the book of Revelation.
  • You will gain a comprehensive understanding of the book of Matthew 1-13 through this lesson, including the literary design of the book, the flow of thought in each chapter, and the key themes and events. The lesson highlights the importance of Jesus' role in bringing God's kingdom to earth and inviting his disciples into a new way of life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the Gospel book of Matthew through an overview of the first 13 chapters. You will learn how Matthew presents Jesus as the king who brings God's kingdom to earth, and how his disciples are invited to participate in this new way of life through his death and resurrection. You will also discover the central theme of the kingdom of God in Matthew, its relationship with the Church, and the call to discipleship and obedience.
  • Gain insight into the book of Mark's literary design and flow of thought, as well as Jesus' role as Israel's Messiah, inaugurating God's kingdom through his suffering, death, and resurrection.
  • By studying the Gospel of Luke, you will gain knowledge of the authorship, purpose, themes, and literary features of the Gospel, as well as a deep understanding of Luke 1-2, which narrates the miraculous births of John the Baptist and Jesus and provides models of faith and obedience. You will discover how Luke emphasizes the universality of God's love and the role of the Holy Spirit in empowering Jesus and his followers.
  • Luke's Gospel portrays Jesus as the fulfillment of God's promises told in the Old Testament, bringing the good news of God's kingdom to the poor, teaching his disciples about prayer, trust, and generosity, continuing his mission to the poor and social outsiders, celebrating God's mercy for the lost and the tragic resistance of Israel's leaders, and ultimately dying on the cross as an embodiment of God's love and mercy.
  • In the Gospel of John, the first half of the book tells stories of Jesus performing miraculous signs that lead to controversy, culminating in the raising of Lazarus and his rejection by Israel's leaders, all of which prepare us to understand Jesus as the Messiah, teacher of Israel, and Son of God who offers a new quality of life through belief in Him.
  • You will gain insights into Jesus' ministry and teachings, including the seven signs of Jesus' public ministry and his private ministry, which include the washing of the disciples' feet, farewell discourse, and high priestly prayer.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insight into the introduction and context of the book of Acts, the early church in Jerusalem, and the gospel going to the Gentiles.
  • You will learn about the book of Acts, covering chapters 13-28, which includes Paul's missionary journeys, the Jerusalem Council, and his journey to Rome, and learn about the debates and decisions made by the apostles and elders, as well as gain insights into Paul's ministry and travels.
  • In Paul's Letter to the Romans, he explains how the gospel reveals God's righteousness, creates a new humanity fulfilling God's promise to Israel, and unifies the church, with chapters one through four laying the foundation for understanding the rest of the letter, which emphasizes that all humanity is hopelessly trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through faith in Jesus.
  • In Paul's letter to the Romans, he explores the idea that all humanity is trapped in sin and needs to be rescued through Jesus' death and resurrection, and that being in the family of Abraham means being a part of a new humanity that God is creating through Jesus and the Spirit, with the purpose of rescuing and renewing all of creation.
  • Explore 1 Corinthians to gain insights into complex problems faced by the church and how Paul responds through the gospel. Learn about unity, sexual integrity, love, worship order, and the resurrection as the foundation of hope in the future. Understand the gospel's application to all aspects of life.
  • In 2 Corinthians, you will learn about Paul's efforts to reconcile with the Corinthians, address their forgotten generosity, and confront the "super apostles" who undermine his authority, revealing the paradox of the cross and its implications for a transformed life.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, context, and content of Galatians, including the false teaching that prompted Paul's letter, his defense of his gospel and authority, the role of the law in God's promise to Abraham, and the importance of living by the Spirit and bearing the fruit of the Spirit.
  • Gain insights into the book of Ephesians, which emphasizes the creation of unified, ethnically diverse communities through devotion to Jesus and each other.
  • This lesson on Philippians will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, themes, literary features, detailed analysis of each chapter, and significance in Christian theology and impact on the church.
  • By studying Colossians, you will gain understanding of the book's authorship, background, and theological themes such as Christology, spiritual maturity, and the new humanity in Christ and how to practically apply the teachings of Colossians to the church and daily life.
  • By studying this lesson on the book of 1 Thessalonians, you will gain understanding of its background, themes, purpose, literary features, and application. You will learn about the historical and cultural relevance of the book and its personal and spiritual significance for us today.
  • You will gain an understanding of the background, purpose, and themes of 2 Thessalonians, as well as an in-depth exegesis of the text. The application of the book to historical and cultural contexts, as well as its relevance for today, is also explored.
  • This lesson provides comprehensive insights into the book of 1 Timothy, including its background, themes, and significance in the New Testament, such as its contribution to understanding church leadership and worship, the historical context of the early church, and its application for modern church life.
  • In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to Timothy from prison, urging him to stay strong in the face of persecution and to confront corrupt teachers who are causing problems in the church in Ephesus.
  • This lesson on the book of Titus provides a comprehensive understanding of its background, authorship, purpose, structure, themes, and significance, enabling you to appreciate its contributions to the New Testament, its impact on the original audience, and its relevance to the Church today.
  • Gain insights into Paul's letter to Philemon about forgiveness and reconciliation with his runaway slave, challenging assumptions about social justice and inequality, and highlighting Paul's commitment to pastoral care and reconciliation.
  • This lesson on Hebrews covers the authorship, purpose, literary genre, Christology, eschatology, and theology of the book, providing insights into Jesus as the Son of God, High Priest, and Perfect Sacrifice, the concept of Rest, Warning Passages, and the Superiority of Christ and the New Covenant, the Importance of Faith and Obedience, and the Perseverance of the Saints.
  • In the Book of James, you will explore the wisdom of Jesus' teachings and the Book of Proverbs, examining themes such as faith and works, the power of words, wealth, poverty, and wisdom, ultimately learning to live according to the "Perfect Torah of Freedom."
  • Through participating in this lesson, you will learn about 1 Peter, including information on its authorship and date, recipients and purpose, theological themes, literary features, and application. The lesson covers the book's historical and cultural context, as well as its contemporary relevance, and provides insights into how it speaks to topics such as suffering and glory, holiness and ethics, and Christology and salvation.
  • You will gain understanding of the book of 2 Peter, including its authorship, date, and literary context, as well as its theological themes, interpretation, and application. By studying 2 Peter, you will learn about false teachers and their destruction, the day of the Lord, the second coming of Christ, the certainty of God's promises, and the importance of godly living in contemporary Christian life.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the letters of John, including their historical and cultural context, authorship, purpose, literary features, themes, and messages, as well as their significance in the New Testament.
  • The book of Jude emphasizes the importance of contending for the Christian faith and exposes corrupt teachers, using both biblical and non-biblical Jewish texts as examples, ultimately highlighting that obedience to Jesus is the true indicator of genuine belief.
  • You will gain a deeper understanding of the book of Revelation, including its historical and literary context, authorship, purpose, and genre, as well as its structure, themes, and images. Additionally, you will be introduced to different interpretive approaches and learn how to apply the book to your personal life, the church, and culture.
  • This lesson provides an understanding of the book of Revelation, including its structure, content, symbolism, interpretive approaches, message, and relevance, helping you to gain insight into the nature of God, the victory of Christ, the role of the church, and the end of history.

BP150-31 - Revelation (Part 1)

The Book of the Revelation of Jesus. The author of this book, which is not called Revelations, by the way, is named at the beginning. It was written by John, which could refer to the beloved disciple who wrote the gospel in the letters of John. Or it could be a different John, a messianic Jewish prophet who traveled about and taught in the early church. Whichever John it was, he makes clear in the opening paragraph what kind of book he has written. He calls it, first of all, a revelation or apocalypse. The Greek word is apocalypse, and it refers to a type of literature very familiar to John's readers from the Hebrew Scriptures and from other popular Jewish texts. Apocalypse is recounted a prophet, symbolic dreams and visions that revealed God's heavenly perspective on history and current events so that the present could be viewed in light of history's final outcome. And John says This apocalypse is a prophecy, which means it's a word from God spoken through a prophet to God's people, usually to warn or comfort them in a time of crisis. By calling this book a prophecy. John saying that it stands in the tradition of the biblical prophets and is bringing their message to a climax. And this apocalyptic prophecy was sent to real people that John. The book opens and closes as a circular letter that was sent to seven churches in the ancient Roman province of Asia. Now, seven is a meaningful number for John. It's a symbol of completeness based on the seven day Sabbath cycle in the Old Testament. And John has woven sevens into every single part of this book. Now, with this opening, John has given us clear guidance about how he wants us to understand this book, Jewish Apocalypse, as communicated through symbolic imagery and numbers. It is not a secret predictive code about the timing of the end of the world. Rather, John is constantly using these symbols that are drawn from the Old Testament, and he expects his readers to go discover what the symbols mean by looking at the text he's alluding to. Also, the fact that it's a letter means that John is actually addressing the situation of these first century churches. And so while this book has much to say to Christians of later generations, the book's meaning must first be anchored in the historical context of John's time and place and audience. Which brings us into the book's first section. Jesus's message to the seven churches. John was exiled on the island of Patmos, and he saw a vision of the risen Jesus exalted as king of the world, and he was standing among seven burning lights. And John's told, This is a symbol of the seven churches in Asia minor that's been adapted from the Book of the Prophet Zachariah. And Jesus starts addressing the specific problems that face each church. Some were apathetic due to wealth and affluence. Others were morally compromised. Their people were still eating ritual meals and sleeping around in pagan temples. But others among the churches remained faithful to Jesus, and they were suffering harassment and even violent persecution. And Jesus warns that things are going to get worse. A tribulation is upon the churches that will force them to choose between compromise or faithfulness. By John's day, the murder of Christians by the Roman Emperor Nero was passed and the persecution of Christians by Emperor Domitian was likely under way. And so the temptation was to deny Jesus either to avoid persecution or simply to join the spirit of the Roman age. And Jesus calls them to faithfulness so that they can overcome or literally conquer. And Jesus promises a reward for everyone in these churches who does conquer. Each reward is drawn directly from the book's final vision about the marriage of heaven and earth. And so this opening section, it sets up the main plot tension that will drive the storyline in this book. Will Jesus's people endure? Will they inherit the new world that God has in store? And why is faithfulness to Jesus described as conquering? The rest of the book? Is John's answer. After this, John has a vision of God's heavenly throne room, and he describes it with imagery drawn from many Old Testament prophets surrounding God are creatures and elders that represent all creation and human nations and their giving honor and allegiance to the one true creator, God, who is wholly, wholly, wholly in God's hand is a scroll that's closed up with seven black seals. It symbolizes the message of the Old Testament prophets and the sealed scroll of Daniel's visions. These are all about how God's kingdom will come here fully on Earth, as in heaven. But it turns out no one is able to open the scroll until John hears of someone who can. It's the lion from the tribe of Judah and the root of David. He can open it. These are classical testament descriptions of the messianic king who would bring God's kingdom through military conquest. Now, that's what John hears. But then what he turns and sees is not an aggressive lion king, but a sacrificed bloody lamb who's alive standing there and ready to open the scroll. Now the symbol of Jesus as the slain. LAMB This is crucially important for understanding the book. John saying that the Old Testament promise of God's future victorious kingdom was inaugurated through the crucified Messiah. Jesus overcame his enemies by dying for the. As the true Passover lamb. So that they could be redeemed because of the resurrection. Jesus death on the cross was not a defeat. It was his enthronement. It was the way he conquered evil. And so this vision concludes with the lamb, alongside the one sitting on the throne. And together they are worshiped as the one true creator and redeemer. And the slain lamb begins to open the scroll. It's a symbol of his divine authority to guide history to its conclusion. Which brings us to the next section of the book The three cycles of seven, seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls, and each cycle depicts God's kingdom and justice coming here on Earth as in heaven. Now, some people think that the three sets of seven Divine judgment represent a literal linear sequence of events that either happened in the past or could be happening now or are yet to happen in the future when Jesus returns. But notice how John has woven all the sevens together. So the final seven bulls come out of the seventh trumpet and the seventh seal and the seven trumpets emerge from the seventh seal. They're like nesting dolls. Each seventh contains the next seven. Also, notice how each of the series of seven culminates in the final judgment, and they have matching conclusions. So it's more likely that John is using each set of seven to depict the same period of time between Jesus's resurrection and future return from three different perspectives. So the slain lamb begins to open the scrolls first for seals, and John sees four horsemen. It's an image from the Book of Zachariah Chapter one, and they symbolize times of war, conquest, famine and death. In other words, a tragically average day in human history. Then the fifth SEAL depicts the murdered Christian martyrs before God's heavenly throne, and the cry of their innocent blood rises up before God like smoke from the altar of incense. And they're told to rest because more Christians are yet to die. We're not told why, but we are told that it won't last forever. The sixth seal is God's ultimate response to their cry. He brings the great day of the Lord that was described in Isaiah and Joel and the people of the earth cry out who was able to stand. And then all of a sudden John pauses the action with an intermission to answer that question. John sees an angel with a signet ring coming to place a mark of protection on God's servants who are enduring all this hardship. And he hears the number of those who are sealed. 144,000. It's a military census, like the one in the Book of Numbers, Chapter one. There are 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Now pay attention. The number of this army is what John heard, just like he heard about the conquering lion of Judah. But in both cases, what he then turned and saw was the surprising fulfillment of those military images in Jesus, the slain lamb. So when he sees this messianic army of God's kingdom, it's made up of people from all nations fulfilling God's ancient promise to Abraham. It's this multi-ethnic army of the lamb who can stand before God because they've been redeemed by the lamb's blood. And now they are called to conquer, not by killing their enemies, but by suffering and bearing witness, just like the lamb. After this, the seventh and final seal is broken. But before the scroll is opened, the seven warning trumpets emerge and fire is taken from the incense altar. It symbolizes the cry of the martyrs, and it's cast onto the earth, bringing the Day of the Lord to its completion. Now, with the seven trumpets, John backs up and he retells the story again, this time with images from the Exodus story. So the first five trumpet blasts replay the plagues sent upon Egypt, and then the sixth trumpet releases the four horsemen that came from the first four SEALs. But then John tells us that despite all these plagues, the nations did not repent, just like Pharaoh didn't in the Exodus story. So it seems that God's judgment alone will not bring people to humble repentance before him. Then John pauses the action again. With another intermission, an angel brings the unsealed scroll that was opened by the lamb. And just like Ezekiel, John is told to eat the scroll and then proclaim its message to the nations. Finally, the lamb scroll is open, and now we will discover how God's kingdom will come here on Earth. The Scrolls content is spelled out in two symbolic visions. First, John sees God's temple and the martyrs by the altar, and he's told to measure and set them apart. It's an image of protection taken from Zachariah Chapter two. But then the outer courts in the city are excluded and they get trampled down by the nations. Now, some think that this refers literally to a destruction of Jerusalem that happened in the past or will happen in the future. But more likely, John's following the tradition of Jesus and the apostles, who all used the new temple as a symbol for God's New Covenant people. In that case, this is an image about how Jesus followers may suffer persecution by the nations. But this external defeat cannot take away their victory through the lamb. This idea gets expanded in the scrolls. Second Division. God appoints two witnesses as prophetic representatives to the nations. And once again, some people think this refers literally to two. Prophets who will appear one day in the future. But John calls them LAMP stands, which is one of his clear symbols for the churches. So this vision is more likely about the prophetic role of Jesus, his followers, who are to take up the mantle of Moses and Elijah and call idolatrous nations and rulers to turn back to the one true God. But then all of a sudden, a horrible beast appears. Let the reader remember Daniel. Chapter seven and the beast conquers the witnesses and kills them. But then God brings them back to life and vindicates the witnesses before their persecutors. And the end result is that many among the nations finally do repent and give glory to the Creator God in the day of the Lord. Now, stop. Think about the story so far. God's warning judgments through the seals and through the trumpets did not generate repentance among the nations. Just like the Exodus plagues only hardened Pharaoh's heart. But the lamb. He conquered his enemies by loving them, dying for them. And now the message of the LAMB scroll reveals the mission of his army. The Church. God's kingdom will be revealed when the nations see the church imitating the loving sacrifice of the lamb, not killing their enemies, but dying for them. It is God's mercy shown through Jesus's followers that will bring the nations to repentance. And this surprising claim is the message of the open scroll that John has placed at the exact center of the entire book. After this, the last trumpet sounds and the nations are shaken as God's kingdom comes here on Earth as it is in heaven. So now we know how the church will bear witness to the nations and inherit the new creation. But who was that terrible beast that waged war on God's people? And how will the whole story turn out? John will tell us in the second half of the Book of the Revelation.