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Lesson 1: The Gospel From Patmos *

Introduction: Exciting days ahead! We are studying the Book of Revelation. Frankly, I prefer studies of a book, rather than a topic. Of the books in the Bible, Revelation is one of the most interesting, exciting, and complicated. Our challenge lies ahead! Let's plunge into our study and see what we can learn from the Book of Revelation!

  1. The Word

    1. Read Revelation 1:1. Who is the source of the message of this book? (It says that "God" gave a revelation to "Jesus Christ," who gave it to an angel, who gave it to John.)

      1. Who is the audience for this message from God? (God's servants. That means this book was written especially for you and me!)

      2. What is the reason for this message? (To show us "what must soon take place.")

        1. How can God say that it refers to matters that will soon take place, since it has been almost 2,000 years since it was written and Jesus has still not returned? (Revelation is not only about Jesus' Second Coming. It talks about things that were current and events that would continue to take place. In fact, we will learn that Revelation contains a history of the Christian church!)

        2. Why would we want to know the future? (It gives us confidence.)

          1. Confidence in what? (That our future is in the hands of God. Among those who believe in God are some who think that God merely watches what takes place. He is not actively involved. This tells us that God knows the future, and He wants to share it with us. This gives us trust and confidence in God.)

    2. Read Revelation 1:2. How much is John telling us? (He says he is not holding back anything that he saw.)

      1. It seems there are two types of messages in Revelation: "the word of God and the testimony of Jesus." What do you think this means? (A testimony relates an experience intended to encourage us. Thus, in some way Revelation is not merely a statement by God the Father, but it is attested to by Jesus, the Son.)

    3. Read Revelation 1:3. How many blessings are available to us in this series of lessons? (I see at least two. We are blessed by merely reading what will happen. We are doubly blessed by paying close attention and acting on what we read.)

      1. How many blessings do you want? (I want all the blessings I can get! So, let's both read Revelation in this series of lessons, and let's see if, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can understand it. Then, by the Holy Spirit's power, let's put what we learn into action in our lives.)

  2. Seven Churches

    1. Read Revelation 1:4-5. Who is writing now? (The Apostle John.)

      1. To whom is he writing? (The seven churches in Asia. This confirms, among other things, that John is writing for those of his time. That shows that Revelation contains a message, at least in part, concerning things soon taking place. We will later study the complete meaning of these churches.)

      2. Who is the "is, and who was, and who is to come?" (This must refer to God the Father because Jesus is mentioned just a little later. God lives for all times.)

      3. What does God want us to have? ("Grace and peace." Would you like more peace in your life?)

      4. Who else is greeting us? ("The seven spirits" before [God's] throne.")

        1. Who are these spirits? (These "seven spirits" could also be translated "sevenfold Spirit." In Revelation 5:6 we read about Jesus (the "slain" "Lamb") who has "eyes" "which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth." This can also be translated "sevenfold Spirit." This sounds like the Holy Spirit to me. So far, we have not received a greeting from the Holy Spirit, so I'm inclined to think that this is the Holy Spirit also giving us greetings.)

      5. Finally, we have a greeting from Jesus, who is called "the faithful witness." Why is Jesus called a "witness?" (Recall that we previously noted that this book is a "testimony" from Jesus, which sounds like a witness. John lived with Jesus. Jesus' life on earth testified to the nature of our Father God.)

        1. What other attributes of Jesus are mentioned? (That He conquered death, He rules the earth, He loves us, and He has freed us from our sins by His sacrifice.)

    2. Read Revelation 1:6. What is our new status before God? (We are both a "kingdom" and we are "priests.")

      1. What do you think the Bible means when it calls us a "kingdom?" (Jesus is our conquering King. He is the "ruler of the kings of the earth." We are now united with Him in His kingdom.)

      2. In what way are we priests? (This is a very important change. Instead of the priesthood of the Levites, each of us is now a priest.)

        1. What is the practical application of that in our lives? (The priests approached God in the temple. Now we can all approach God because of what Jesus has done for us at the cross.)

      3. What is the purpose of making all of us priests? (We are to serve God.)

        1. How did priests serve God in the temple system?

        2. If we are all priests, does this role change in any way? (The priests were the intermediaries between God and the people. They taught about God, they ran the temple system, and they were part of helping the people be cleansed from their sins. All of this work, in modified form, is available to each of us today.)

        3. What do you think is the most important aspect of us being priests today? (Our direct access to Jesus. Another important part is the leveling of the system. We all now qualify as priests. Consider the impact of that!)

    3. Read Revelation 1:7. Why is this in the introduction, the first chapter of Revelation? (The book points to this event! Our Lord is coming back!)

      1. What kind of event will it be? (Not a private one. "Every eye" will see Him. Unless you see Jesus return, it is not Him. Do not accept any third-party statements about Jesus' arrival.)

      2. What is the point of saying that those who crucified Jesus will see Him? (Talk about realizing that you made a terrible mistake! Those central to His suffering and death will see Him come in glory!)

      3. Why will we mourn? Can you imagine a more glorious event? (This follows the line of thought of those who crucified Jesus. Those who reject Jesus will find this the saddest day of their existence.)

    4. Read Revelation 1:8. Jesus has just said that He is returning in glory. Why would John next write that God is the beginning and end ("Alpha and Omega") and that He always has and always will exist?

      1. Notice that the same phrase "who is, and who was, and who is to come" was stated earlier in Revelation 1:4. Why is this repeated? What point is God making to John and to us? (The book of Revelation is about God's final triumph over sin. We have these assertions of victory (the Second Coming) and of great power to give us confidence that God has the ability to do what He predicts He will do. He wants us to trust what we are about to read in this book.)

      2. Notice the parallel between the two phrases "Alpha and Omega," and "who is, and who was, and who is to come." How does this fit into the idea that God has the ability to do what He predicts? (God is both the first and last one standing. If anyone has the power to shape the future, He does.)

    5. Friend, you are a priest of God! Jesus tells us the future, He tells us that He has won the battle with evil. He tells us that He has all power. God wants us to be encouraged! He wants us to have confidence in Him and in the future. Are you encouraged?

  3. Next week: Among the Lampstands.
* Copr. 2019, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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