Donnie's Teaching Notes
Introduction to the Revelation
The Revelation is a prophecy concerning the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Revelation gives us more detail about end-times events than any other book in the Bible. Add to the Book of Revelation the Book of Daniel, Matthew 24 (the Olivet Discourse), and 2 Thessalonians 2, and we have a thorough description of the prophetic period known as “the End Times.” The “End Times” references a short 7-year prophetic period also known as Daniel’s 70th week. During this seven-year period extremely specific prophetic signs will occur. These signs will identify and confirm if we are living in the last days. This knowledge will help us to be prepared and ready to warn those who choose to listen. In other words, when we begin to see the fulfillment of these specific end-time signs, we will know the Second Coming of Jesus is very near (within the seven-year period of Daniel’s 70th week).
The Revelation will serve as a guide for those who are alive at that future time. For this reason, God wants us to be prepared and to understand this end-times prophecy. Many prophecies concerning the Messiah’s Coming have already been fulfilled, but many (approximately half) remain unfulfilled. The Book of Revelation answers the question “What will occur during the last days?” It reveals Jesus specific plan to transition the earth to the age to come. He will return to earth to rule all nations. Evil governments will resist this. I like to think of The Book of Revelation as Jesus unveiling His final ‘battle plan’ to cleanse the earth of evil. I also like to think of it as an “infallible prayer guide” that equips the Church for the coming suffering and glory.
Revelation One begins with a general introduction and instructions for those in the Church who will go through the period known as Daniel’s 70th week. We are commanded to carefully hear and faithfully obey the prophetic message of the book because it will be critically important for every child of God entering the last days. Some Christians teach that what this book has to say is not relevant to the Church because it will have been raptured into heaven when these signs begin to occur. But such reasoning is flawed, for what need would there be to warn us to hear the instruction of The Revelation if there was never any danger to believers?
The main purpose of the first chapter is to reveal the majesty and power of Jesus. Understanding this will help prepare His Church to participate with Him in releasing God’s glory in all the nations. Make no mistake, the conflict in the End Times will center on, who Jesus is. Revelation One provides eighteen defining characteristics to establish the clearest picture of who Jesus is. He is fully God and fully man. The only way of salvation is through Him. These absolute truths will especially offend and insult the Antichrist, resulting in his rage against God’s people.
The chapter ends with a vision of the glorified Son of God who openly manifests His deity and His humanity to prepare His Bride for tribulation judgments, supernatural protection, and the ultimate restoration of this earth! Reading the Revelation guarantees a promised blessing in the lives of all believers, but is especially applicable to those who will enter into the end times period.
The Title of the Book
 The revelation of (The Greek word “apocalypse” = the “unveiling.” In the End Times, we will witness the “unveiling” of the mystery concerning Jesus’ return – the making known of the facts and events of the end times concerning the Second Coming. This “unveiling” of prophetic truth comes from…) Jesus Christ, which God (the Father) gave him to show his servants (“Servant” is a title of great honor, and refers to those who are subordinate and live obediently to God. The term “servant” also references the bondservants of the 7 churches.) what must soon take place. (Not “soon” in the customary sense of time, after all, it has already been almost 2000 years. Rather, once the specific prophesied events begin to occur, things will happen very quickly – speedily, in rapid-fire fashion – during those last 7 years of Daniel’s 70th week.) He (Jesus) made it known by sending his angel (The Lord’s angel. We are not given his name. See Rev 22:6.) to his servant John (One of the 12 apostles, writer of the gospel of John, the disciple whom Jesus loved.),  who testifies to everything he saw (The Book of Revelation was transcribed by John, who declares that he saw all that Jesus revealed in this book.) – that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. (The concept of “testimony” is a central & critically important theme in the Book of Revelation. Rev. 12:11 “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”)
A Blessing Promised to Those Who Read, Hear, & Obey the Revelation
 Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy (Prophecy is merely history written in advance. God wants us to understand prophecy, but you can’t understand it if you don’t take it literally. A full 28% of the Bible is concerned with prophecy – in terms of time devoted to a topic, it ranks second only to the subject of salvation. God holds the future in His hand and He demonstrates His power as He reveals the future to us!), and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it (The Revelation is the only book in the Bible with a built-in promise of blessing to those who read, hear and apply its prophecies. See Rev 22:7.), because the time is near. (John does not know the exact date, but he wants us to be prepared. John uses this uncertainty to motivate his audience to hear the prophecy. John would not think it necessary to warn believers, if they were not going through this period. This book serves as a guide for those who will enter Daniel’s 70th week. The point is to watch for the signs in order to be ready. These instructions are intended to prepare the church for the most difficult and exciting days of all history.)
The Announcement to the 7 Churches
 John, to the seven churches (In the Bible, the number seven symbolically denotes completeness or perfection. The number Seven is used over 50 times in the Book of Revelation; 7 churches, 7 spirits, 7 candlesticks, 7 stars, 7 lamps, 7 seals, 7 horns, 7 eyes, 7 angels, 7 trumpets, 7 thunders, 7 heads, 7 crowns, 7 plagues, 7 bowls, 7 mountains and 7 kings.) in the province of Asia: (Modern day Western Turkey) Grace and peace to you (This was the standard greeting in Biblical Times) from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, (referring to God the Father and His eternal attributes) and from the seven spirits before his throne, (Isaiah 11:2 describes the seven-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit; Spirit, wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge, and fear of the Lord. Zechariah 4 indicates that 7 lamps represent the “eyes of the Lord” throughout the earth, which is connected to the complete ministry of the Holy Spirit. “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Zech. 4:8)
Who Is Jesus?
 and from Jesus Christ, (We see all 3 persons of the Holy Trinity, or the triune God, extending grace and peace. The conflict in the End Times will center on a battle for the truth about who Jesus is.) who is the faithful witness, (Jesus Christ is the faithful witness of who God is and what He did for us on the cross. Jesus is the complete manifestation of God. Believers are instructed to look at Jesus Christ in order to understand the true nature of God. See John 14:9. Heb. 1:2,3. He is also faithful in telling us the truth about the coming judgment) the firstborn from the dead, (This references Jesus’ resurrection. Jesus is a priest, a mediator, the first to rise from the dead with a glorified or a new body and never die again) and the ruler (Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. John is explaining that Jesus is the anointed prophet, priest and King = Messiah!) of the kings of the earth (Jesus returns to earth to rule all nations. Evil nations will resist this). To him who loves us (God is good. Despite our foolishness, selfishness, and our sin, God demonstrates his love for us through Jesus) and has freed us from our sins by his blood, (He frees us from the destructive habits in our lives through His blood on the cross.)  and has made us to be a kingdom and priests (Jesus is the King and the Church is called to be a royal priesthood, to intercede and bring people nearer to God. It is our commission to light the fire in men’s hearts and compel them to listen and believe God’s Word, especially regarding Jesus’ Second Coming) to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Everyone Will Witness His Second Coming
 Look, he is coming (Yes, Jesus is coming again! The return of Jesus Christ is mentioned over 300 times, 10 times the number of any other critical doctrine. God gives us the signs of His coming so that we can be prepared!) with the clouds, (Acts 1:9-11 says He will come in the same way He was taken into heaven … in the clouds, literally, physically and visibly) and every eye will see him, (Jesus’ return will be anything but secret. No one will miss it, even those who have died. It will be just as lightning comes from the east and flashes to the West. It will be a sudden appearance. There will be a shining brightness as Jesus returns to Rapture His church. See Mt 24:30) even those who pierced him; (This may be a reference to Israel and the Jewish people who have rejected Jesus as Messiah. See Zechariah 12:10-14. Or it may be the first hint that the spiritual dimension will be open for all to see during the End Times. Jesus told Caiaphas, the high priest, that he would see Jesus return in glory. See Mt 26:64) and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. (This will be a global event and everyone, living and dead, will witness His Coming! The world will mourn out of fear of the judgment that will follow. Jesus is returning to take leadership of the earth.) So shall it be! Amen.
 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," (The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, indicating completeness. Jesus is the Beginning and the End) says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Jesus is identified as Almighty God, the Great “I Am,” the one without beginning or ending, the eternal present one, Yahweh, Jehovah of the O.T.)
The Day of The Lord
 I, John, your brother and companion (a fellow believer) in the suffering (The Greek word, “thlipsis” = tribulation associated with following Jesus – not the great tribulation of Mt 24:21) and kingdom and patient endurance (The true mark of a believer in the face of tribulation.) that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos (The date is 95 AD and John is a prisoner on the island of Patmos) because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. (John was imprisoned for preaching the gospel. This also references the two weapons that help us overcome Satan – the scriptures and a personal testimony for Jesus. See Rev 12:11.)  On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, (Some suggest John was in a spirit of worship on Sunday. Early Christians had begun to meet, not on Saturday as the Jews did, but on the first day of the week, the day of Jesus’ resurrection. This may also refer to John being transported by the Holy Spirit to the events of the Day of the Lord where he was an eyewitness of the events of Daniel’s 70th week. Today we live in an age of sin. We look forward to a Golden Age the Bible calls the Millennium. In between these two ages, John sees the events of a brief, 7-year period known as the “end of the age” or “Daniel’s 70th week”) and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, (trumpets warn people of coming judgment)  which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” (See notes on Revelation 2 & 3)
The Vision of the Glorified Son of Man, The Messiah
 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, (the seven churches, who were commissioned with being lights in a spiritually dark world)  and among (in the midst of) the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," (The God-Man. see Daniel 7:13-14 and 10:5-6, 16. The glorified Messiah walks in the midst of the church and is aware of our wants and needs) dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. (The book of Revelation is filled with symbols. Symbols are used to amplify our language – symbols help create mental images to give us better understanding of the nature and character of the person or thing being described. For example, the Antichrist is called a beast. This imagery helps us to understand his dangerous and evil nature. Satan is called a dragon. Jesus is seen here in a glorified form, wearing the robe of the High priest, and in the role of a judge.)  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow (The Ancient of Days has white hair which portrays dignity and wisdom), and his eyes were like blazing fire (His eyes search the minds and hearts of all people. See Rev 2:18-23).  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace (He is a mighty warrior who will trample all His enemies under His feet. See Psalm 110), and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters (Joel 2:11 The Lord gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great).  In his right hand he held seven stars, (the seven angels of the seven churches) and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword (The sword of the Holy Spirit, which is the Word of God. He will strike the nations with this sword and rule them with a rod of iron during the Millennium. See Rev 19:15.) His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. (Jesus will consume the Antichrist with the breath of His mouth and the brightness of His coming. See 2 Thes. 2:8)  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. (John fell as dead before the judge of the universe. His reaction is typical of everyone in scripture who encounters the living God. This supernatural description of Jesus is repeated to the seven churches in Rev 2 & 3 so we may be more fully aware of who He is.) Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. (Jesus touches his friend to reassure him. However, for nonbelievers, this book is a stern warning and designed to put the fear of God in their heart and to wake them up!) I am the First and the Last. (He is the first to be raised from the dead and the first in authority. We do not need to fear anything in this book, even martyrdom.)  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! (He suffered a cruel death. He now has power over death and gives those who believe in Him eternal life). And I hold the keys (Isa. 22:22 I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.) of death and Hades. (Jesus has the authority over the unseen abode. Jesus has granted us access to God.)
What You Have Seen, What Is Now, and What Will Take Place Later
 "Write, therefore, what you have seen, (John reveals 3 divisions in the Book of Revelation: The vision of the glorified Jesus in Chapter 1) what is now (the contemporary, historical scene of the seven churches of Rev 2,3) and what will take place later (the future events of the end of the age Ch 4-22).  The mystery (Anything spoken of as a mystery in the Bible requires divine insight to ascertain its hidden meaning) of the seven stars (angels are frequently referred to as stars) that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands (the seven churches) is this: The seven stars are the angels (divine council, messengers, guardian angels, overseers assigned to individual churches) of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (John makes it clear that he is using symbols to amplify his language. But the symbols represent things that are real and literal. Here, and throughout the book, John will use symbols and figures of speech to amplify his descriptions of Jesus, future events, and other key end times players. The book of Revelation is a series of visions. The ability to see the spirit realm is called a vision.)