Understanding the book of revelation with Afolabi Dollars (1)
The book of Revelation is an apocalyptic writings written arguably in 89AD by John on the island of Patmos 90miles away from Ephesus at a time of great persecutions and hostility from the Roman Empire imposing emperor worship as against Christ worship.
Many don’t like visiting this book because many of the things written in it appear so confusingly scary and are in CODES which need to be demystified!
There are a few things I’d tell us about this book which makes it easy to decode and also help us to understand subsequent article on this series.
The first thing we need to know is, the book of Revelation is not the revelation of the Church, it’s not the revelation of John, it is THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST, and this revelation is not for/to the world but for/to the Church!
The second important thing we need to see is, this Revelation was given to Jesus Christ by THE FATHER, the one and only true GOD who alone is the being qua being. So, this Revelation is FROM GOD (the father) to Jesus Christ (the Son), then from Jesus to John (the apostle/Prophet), then from John to the Church (the Bride).
The father ➡️ the Son➡️ the apostle/Prophet ➡️ the church.
Please take note of the above sequence, I’ll refer to it later in this series!
Another thing I want us to see is, the book of Revelation is a book of PROPHECY, not really an epistle, and let me quickly shock you, when John warned in chapter 22 verses 18-19 about not adding to or removing from the book, contrary to what many of us believe, he was PARTICULARLY referring to the book of Revelation and not the Bible.
Please while you’re raising your eyebrows, let’s quickly check it out the Holman’s translation, and please focus on the words/phrase I put in block letters:
18 I testify to everyone who hears the prophetic words of THIS book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him THE PLAGUES THAT ARE WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK. 19 And if anyone takes away from the words of THIS PROPHETIC BOOK, God will take away his share of the TREE OF LIFE and the HOLY CITY, WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK.”
First of all, when you see the word “THIS”, it shows particularity or specificity, you can’t view it from a generic perspective! John was PARTICULAR about the book he’s talking about.
Secondly, “prophetic words” as used by John in this warning, another translation used “THIS prophecy” further shows that John was SPECIFIC about the prophecies he’s giving in this book, we need to understand that not all books of the Bible contain prophecies, so he couldn’t be talking about the Bible in general, but REVELATION!
Also, “the plagues that are written in this book” still points to the book of Revelation because plagues are not written in the entire Bible.
Again, John making reference that “his share of the TREE OF LIFE and HOLY CITY WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK” means he’s referring to what he had written/discussed earlier in the book about the tree of life and the New Jerusalem.
So, THIS BOOK that John was warning about is the book of Revelation in particular and not the Bible because as at the time he’s writing this book and giving the warning, the Bible has not been compiled yet as a book.
Does it mean I’m saying we can add or remove from the Bible in general? NO! But CONTEXTUAL INTERPRETATION is key if we want to truly understand and decode the scriptures especially the book of Revelation!
The truth is, many translators, compilers, theologians, etc have over the centuries ADDED and also REMOVED from the Bible in general in the process of translating and compiling, so there’s a contextual point of John’s warning, he’s particular about THE PROPHECIES themselves!
Another thing I want us to see about the book of Revelation is, these prophecies by John are SPECIFICALLY about what must SHORTLY TAKE PLACE/SOON COME TO PASS, although when it comes to visions, a seer could be taken to the past in order to further understand the imminent future.
For instance, the fact that John saw in his vision the lamb that was slain from the foundation/beginning of the world, which is in the past, doesn’t mean the book of REVELATION is about the past, NO! PROPHECIES are never about the past events, they are mostly about the FUTURE events, though references could be made to past or present events in order to better decode a prophecy!