BibleTools

Topical Studies

 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


Bible verses about Revelation
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 3:9-10

This event illustrates why there are so many false conceptions of God. Once Satan and sin enter man's life, man hides himself from God, and God must seek him out before a relationship and revelation of true knowledge of God can even begin.

Because it suits His purpose, God has permitted Satan to continue what he began in the Garden with Adam and Eve. Despite the fact that Adam and Eve literally saw God, they sinned because they really did not know Him.

Since eternal life lies in the relationship with God, it is extremely important how frequent and accurate our thoughts about Him are. Many influential people in this world are convinced that He does not even exist. By definition, agnostics are not sure, so how does their uncertainty affect their worship of Him?

This is a major reason why Jesus says in John 6:44 that no one comes to Him unless the Father draws him. He adds in Matthew 11:27 that no one "knows the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." Only true believers, those to whom God has specifically revealed Himself, have truth and thus eternal life.

Adam and Eve's summary dismissal from the Garden was among the most serious punishments ever inflicted on mankind because it severed contact with God. Without contact with God, a true conception of Him was impossible, and wholesale sin followed. We can conclude that what one knows about the true God Himself and how one uses that knowledge are the two most important issues in life. Seeking God is the most serious challenge of our lives! The quality of our present lives and the continuation of those lives everlastingly hinge on these two factors.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Seeking God (Part One): Our Biggest Problem


 

Job 11:7

Theologians have long discussed a general or public revelation that anyone with eyes and a brain could figure out for himself. Zophar, one of Job's counselors, alludes to this empirical revelation.

The American pamphleteer and propagandist, Thomas Paine, wrote a book entitled The Age of Reason, in which for his thesis he attempted to answer Zophar's double-pronged question. To the first part, he answered unequivocally in the affirmative, citing the order and design of the cosmos. Paine, a practicing Deist, points to Psalm 19:1, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork" as affirmation of the general or public revelation.

Romans 1:20 more definitively substantiates the idea of a public or general revelation: "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and [divine nature], so that they are without excuse." Even with such an overwhelming testimony, some hapless fools, having immersed themselves in evil behavior, have deluded themselves into rejecting this general revelation, refusing to see God (Psalm 14:1). Even the public or general revelation cannot penetrate the darkened minds of those whom, because of their addiction to sin, God has given over to a reprobate mind (Romans 1:21).

Thomas Paine responded to Zophar's second question, "Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?" with a resounding, "No." Largely, Paine is right on target. The carnal mind, because of its propensity to sin and lawlessness, is enmity against God (Romans 8:7). Knowledge of God's intent or purpose has always been conditional, linked to obedience to His holy law. He promises to those He has scattered for disobedience:

But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the LORD your God and obey His voice. . . . (Deuteronomy 4:29-30)

Consequently, the answer to Zophar's second question has strings attached. We may see God's intent and purpose for our lives more clearly if 1) we yield to His will, and 2) we actively and tirelessly seek for Him as we would for buried precious minerals.

David F. Maas
Why Does God Keep Secrets?


 

Proverbs 29:18

Vision - having well-formed goals - is an absolute necessity to anybody who is going anywhere. Vision in this verse can be translated "revelation," which in turn means "divine guidance." If one would recast this proverb into modern English, it would read something like this: "Without divine guidance, people cast off restraint."

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sanctification and the Teens


 

Proverbs 29:18

Modern versions replace "vision" with "revelation," but the choice is negligible because God's revelation is the true and most important vision (foresight, discernment, insight) for our lives. The Living Bible paraphrases this verse as, "Where there is ignorance of God, the people run wild, but what a wonderful thing it is for a nation to know and keep His laws!" An old English version based on the Latin Vulgate provides a fascinating rendering in light of what has happened recently in the church: "When prophecy shall fail, the people shall be scattered." Adam Clarke comments, "Where divine revelation, and the faithful preaching of the sacred testimonies, are neither reverenced nor attended, the ruin of that land [or church] is at no great distance."

All these renderings show a measure of cause and effect. The vision a person has is the cause, and the effect is the way he then conducts his life. Where there is a true vision, or revelation of God, it motivates those who have reverence for it to conduct their lives in a way that produces good fruit - happiness. If the vision that guides is not from God, the people are motivated to "run wild" or "cast off restraint." That is, they will not discipline themselves to take proper responsibility, and the result is they perish - quite a contrast to the satisfying result of keeping God's laws!

There can be no doubt about what vision produces. It enhances our perception of what will occur or be produced if a certain course is followed. Thus, it increases our discernment and sharpens our judgment about which way we should go. If the vision, the foreseen result, seems good to a person, he is motivated to proceed in that direction. When vision and the fear of God combine, they produce a strong stimulus to obey Him. Vision gives a mental picture of results, and the deep and abiding respect for God produces a compelling inclination to please Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Two): Vision


 

Proverbs 29:18

The New King James Version says, "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law."

Normally, people do not want to perish. We are in the church because we do not want to perish either. This assumed that we have a vision, there has been a revelation to us, of a purpose to life. If the revelation or the vision is not there, what do people do? They cast off restraint. The vision, the revelation of God, makes a person walk a certain path. If it were not for that revelation or vision, we would at the very least passively wander off the path.

The Living Bible translates this verse, "Where there is no revelation, the people run wild"! It is a bit more active and a harsher interpretation, and perhaps this paraphrase is actually more descriptive of what is happening in the world. If people do not have the vision of what God is going to accomplish through the resurrection of the dead, they cast off all restraint, run wild - they do whatever comes to mind, whatever hope, whatever desire, whatever longing strikes them. Does that make them stick to the straight and narrow path that leads to the Kingdom of God? Of course not. They are constantly going contrary to the true direction, off the path.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Resurrection From the Dead


 

Proverbs 29:18

Proverbs 29:18 in the New Living Bible says, "When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild." It does not mean that those without vision were "screaming Mimi's" running around tearing their hair out or something of that nature. It simply means that those without the revelation of God, those without godly vision, live purposeless lives. Their lives are lived lawlessly and in vanity - without direction. Therefore, for a group to be unified, all must have the same vision of where to go in life. We cannot do that until we all believe the same things.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 5): Ephesians 4 (B)


 

Ecclesiastes 3:11

God has endowed us with the sense of the future and with a curiosity about what goes on beyond the grave: Is there life beyond the grave? Do we have immortality? Is this life all there is? He has made man with the capacity to think about these matters. Unfortunately, as Solomon says, nobody can figure out what He is doing. Without vision, people perish (Proverbs 29:18); without revelation, people cast off restraint—they go off the path.

"They do not know what He is doing from the beginning" does not refer to what He is doing in His creative acts but the purpose of life. His purpose has been revealed to us that we might have the same hope that God has for us: to share all eternity with Him and live as He does. If we have caught the vision and understand what the resurrection is—the doorway through which we step to continue in all of its fulness the kind of life that God has already introduced to us and we have begun to put into practice—we realize that we will be able to continue as His companions, His children for all eternity. This is what the resurrection represents!

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Resurrection From the Dead


 

Ecclesiastes 7:11-14

Solomon is comparing two powers that offer their possessors the ability to defend themselves against many of the vicissitudes of life. On the one hand is money and on the other, wisdom. Money can help one avoid and even preserve a person from many of life's difficulties. Wisdom, however, can give him something no amount of money can—life. Wisdom produces things material possessions cannot because it is insurance against willful self-destruction, whether physical or spiritual.

Consider in verse 13 literally means "to see." It counsels us to understand that some situations cannot be rectified. No amount of money or wisdom will prevent them from occurring. We can do nothing about them because circumstances are beyond our powers, and we should not fret overmuch about them. An obvious example is the impossibility of a person being able to stop wars, floods, riots, or a hurricane. Each of these can bring devastation and a great deal of personal pain that may be entirely unavoidable. All one can do in such a case is to deal with the aftereffects as wisely as possible.

Verse 14 carries on the thought, counseling us that good and bad times occur in everybody's life. There will be situations that are seemingly unjust, such as the righteous seeming not to be prospered, becoming diseased and dying young, while the evil are prospered with wealth, good health, and long, comfortable lives. These things occur in every culture on earth. We are to consider—to see—that God overrules all and is well aware of what is happening. He may even be directly involved in causing the kinds of circumstances that upset our sense of fairness (Isaiah 45:7). We must never allow our thoughts to wander from the reality of the depths of God's involvement in governing His creation.

The passage concludes by drawing our attention to the future. It is beyond our abilities to know precisely what is going to happen. How long will our present trial last? Will we be drawn into another? Are we pleasing God? Will we be prospered to a greater level? When will Christ come? Solomon is not saying we should not think about the future, but that we will never know precisely what is coming. Thus, we should not be overly concerned about it. We must live our belief that God is on His throne, which allows us to be emotionally stable.

Solomon does not begin to give an answer to the thought he is posing until verses 18-19, and even then, it is a very brief answer: "It is good that you grasp this, and also not remove your hand from the other; for he who fears God will escape them all. Wisdom strengthens the wise more than ten rulers of the city." The combination of the fear of God and wisdom, which is the fruit of vision, appear together as a solution.

Because the circumstances he posed will affect all, Solomon's advice is to keep on following wisdom. This is a precursor to the climax of the book where he says, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). It also foreshadows Romans 8:28, where Paul writes, "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

In his terse statements, Solomon is saying, "Keep on following the revelation of God, for this is wisdom. The vision of His overall purpose is wisdom. It is an unerring guide through good and bad times. Always consider—see, discern—that an unseen Hand is involved in events, even those of our seemingly insignificant lives."

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Two): Vision


 

Daniel 12:4

The phrase "to and fro" is not to be limited to people literally going from one place to another. While it does also mean that, the words in Hebrew indicate something that is happening entirely within a person's mind. The minds of people are casting back and forth as though they are in midst of a puzzle, a mystery, an enigma that they cannot figure out. Or, they are all stressed, and their minds are flashing back and forth because of all that is burdening them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Sanctification and the Teens


 

Daniel 12:4

The phrase "knowledge will be increased" is a direct reference to the prophecy itself; that is, knowledge of the prophecy will be increased. Many would seek to understand it between Daniel's time and its fulfillment, but its message must be revealed. However, its revelation will not occur until the people of God need to understand it for their well-being and God's glory. What are the chances it will be revealed in its fullness to any of us? My guess is: extremely small!

Not only must its message be revealed, but it will also not be revealed until the time comes that God is good and ready. God adds in verse 10 that only "the wise shall understand." The "wise" are described elsewhere as those who keep the commandments of God (Hosea 14:9).

Moses writes in Deuteronomy 29:29, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." God, for His purposes, chooses to keep certain things to Himself. On the other hand, He reveals a great deal about Himself in nature, revelation that is available to anyone.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Three): Who Is the Woman?


 

Amos 3:7

Combinging this scripture together with Deuteronomy 29:29—and with an example Daniel 12 when God tells the prophet that the meaning was sealed until the time of the end—we can see that He is clearly telling us He promises to reveal the understanding of prophecy on a "need-to-know" basis. When we need to know, He will tell us. That is His promise. So until that time arrives, precise understanding will be impossible. Therefore, anyone's interpretation of prophecy has to be understood as theory until the evidence arises that it is a true interpretation.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 3)


 

Amos 3:7

This verse reveals a divine principle or a pattern. God does not give every detail, but His pattern of behavior is to let His people know (at least in generalities) what He is going to do. He gives enough information, but not so much that we do not have to live by faith.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 11)


 

Matthew 13:10-17

In Matthew 13:10-17, Jesus explains the purpose of parables. It is not to expand the meaning, but to hide the meaning from the people whom He did not want to understand. Only with the Spirit of God can we really understand the parables, but He has to give us the understanding. Certain keys unlock parables, and if we do not have the keys, we will miss the meaning, and the interpretation will be wrong, off track.

Other parts of the Bible tell us that it takes the Holy Spirit to give us "ears to hear" (see I Corinthians 2:6-14). To understand spiritual things, we must have the Spirit of God in our minds - we must have the mind of Christ - that in turn opens up the Bible's "mysteries." Of course, the other major key is the Book itself, because the interpretation of the parables is within the Bible. It is not necessarily just the scriptural context of the parable; rather, the entire Bible contributes to opening up the parable's meaning. In other words, a parable does not stand alone. It must "fit" within the Bible's revelation.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Parables of Matthew 13 (Part 1): The Mustard Seed


 

Matthew 13:10-16

Jesus clearly declares that the Israelites have closed their own eyes and ears (verse 15) - they made a conscious decision to do so. This can be done by simply choosing to ignore what God says or neglecting what has been given to them. They have ignored the works of His hands - the Creation - by which it is clearly shown that He is (Romans 1:20)! Because the carnal mind is enmity against God (Romans 8:7) and does not want to be tied down to a relationship with God, it prefers to do something else.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 11)


 

Romans 1:18-20

Godhead indicates divinity or nature, and a modern translation will translate it that way, usually as "nature"—the nature of God. The word itself in the Greek means "that which is divine," and divine in English means "relating to God," or in this context, His nature.

In this passage, Paul is saying that the creation of God is a constant and natural revelation, and therefore it is available to all. If people will just stop to think about it, they can learn a great deal about God. However, it is not enough of a revelation for God to hold mankind responsible in terms of salvation, for that takes a special, personal calling and revelation from Him. However, it is enough for God to hold them responsible for their conduct, which is what the remainder of Romans 1 explains.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 3)


 

Romans 1:18-19

God reveals to mankind what can be known about Him: Himself and His creative power by displaying the marvels of the creation.

David C. Grabbe
What Evolution Really Means


 

Romans 1:18-20

Paul is not saying that God has revealed spiritual truth or saving truth to these people, but even what He has revealed to them in regard to Himself and His power as Creator has been rejected. How much of mankind believes the theory of evolution? That is an outright rejection of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Holy Spirit and the Trinity (Part 2)


 

Romans 1:18

Verse 18 is an introductory statement to his argument, a kind of cannon shot across the bow, in which Paul asserts that men "stuff the truth." Mankind suppresses what is godly and right. It is evident that God exists, that He is the Creator, and beyond these, that He provides for His creation. He cares for it and loves it. But men still supress these truths and many others in unrighteousness.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Truth (Part 2)


 

Romans 1:19-20

God can be understood—even the unconverted can comprehend some things about Him. Despite these verses in Romans 1, the opinions of learned men say that God is incomprehensible, yet Paul is saying that there is a clear testimony. It is a constant and natural revelation of God's power and nature, and that revelation is sufficient for God to hold these people responsible for their conduct.

This natural revelation, however, is not sufficient for salvation because God shows in other places that salvation requires a specific and personal revelation of His word. "No one," Jesus says in John 6:44, "can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day."

But this revelation through what God has created is clear enough for Him to hold people responsible for their conduct. Thus, if His invisible attributes, eternal power, and divine nature are clearly understood by the visible things that God has made in this world, then all we need to do is to use a little common sense in connection with plain statements from Scripture to find out what God really looks like. So, if God says that His attributes can be clearly understood by the unconverted, and if He is seen in the visible creation in this world, what visible things on earth give us a picture of the invisible God?

The very thing that God Himself says in Genesis 1:26. We—mankind—look like Him.

Is that so difficult? Just understanding this principle, it is no wonder that the Greek gods of mythology reflected mankind in all of our foibles, weaknesses, and passions. The Greeks simply turned the principle around. They turned the image around, reflecting in their gods the things of man.

Other portions of Scripture, like I Corinthians 2:6-16, explain the special, personal revelation of God that helps us to know the things of God, so that we can have the mind of Christ and put on His image. However, we know from other passages that the created human being is but a pale reflection of the reality of God, and that God's creative power is still at work reproducing His image in men. That is, we are a work in progress and still unfinished.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 2)


 

Romans 1:19-21

God Himself declares that at least some knowledge—a basic, foundational understanding—is available to virtually everyone. However, an interesting danger is revealed here. Note how this unfolds: ". . . because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened" (verse 21). These people knew God, just as the people addressed by Isaiah and Amos and in Hebrews had knowledge of God. Yet, they obviously did not honor God by conducting themselves according to what they knew of Him. They failed to put their knowledge into action, and instead, let their imaginations run wild and began worshipping things apart from what God had revealed of Himself. Their imaginings, Paul says, led them straight into idolatry. In other words, they did not hold fast to what God gave them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Seeking God (Part One): Our Biggest Problem


 

Romans 1:20

Even without the Spirit of God, without God having fully revealed Himself to a person, it is still possible for him to recognize that a creation demands the existence of a Creator. He can see that an intelligent Designer is necessary rather than the natural world coming into existence by sheer chance. Thus, God says that they are without excuse because they can understand the things that can be known about Him, if they choose to accept it.

David C. Grabbe
What Evolution Really Means


 

Romans 11:33-34

To know the fullness of God's thoughts on any subject or any event is, of course, so far beyond us to be unimaginable. To this end, we truly do look through a glass darkly. However, He has revealed certain things about Himself, His way, and His plan sufficiently enough that we may seek Him, come to conversion, and grow thereby. He has also revealed much to us about His attributes, His aims, and His activities as Creator, Sovereign Ruler, Provider, Lawgiver, Judge, Savior, and Father so that we are not completely without some knowledge and understanding of how He functions within His creation.

Deuteronomy 29:29 confirms God's revelation by saying, "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." I Corinthians 2:10 provides a New Testament confirmation of this: "But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God." We can understand a great deal about God.

The "catch" in all this, though, is whether we choose to believe Him and thus choose to conduct ourselves within the parameters of what He reveals in His Word. Far more, it seems, choose not to believe. Some say they believe, but carelessly continue living their lives as though they, and not He, are all that matters - until some crisis occurs and He suddenly becomes very important to them.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Is God to Blame?


 

1 Corinthians 1:7-8

In verse 7, apocalypsis is translated "coming" in the King James and "revelation" in the New King James. Paul clearly refers to the return or the second coming of Jesus Christ; he uses the word in relation to Christ appearing visibly at a specific time: His day.

This "day" of course does not refer to a specific day of the week, but rather to the period in which the misjudgment of man ends and the righteous judgment of God begins. Mankind, under the influence of Satan, has been trying in vain to rule himself for 6,000 years, or six "days," using the principle in II Peter 3:8 of one day equaling one thousand years. The seventh "day" is when God intervenes and establishes His government, so that mankind can finally understand how to live. That day begins with the visible appearance of Jesus Christ, coming in the clouds in all of His glory (Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26).

II Thessalonians 1:7-10 speaks of that same day, or that same time:

. . . and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed [apocalypsis] from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

Here again, apocalypsis refers to the person of Jesus Christ, and it plainly describes His visible revelation—His unveiling—when He returns from heaven with His angels to take vengeance on those who do not know God and disobey the gospel. When He is revealed in that day, not only will He appear in glory, but He will "be glorified in His saints." At that time, His saints, people He has separated to Himself, will be resurrected and exchange their earthly glory for heavenly glory (cf. I Corinthians 15:40-49).

David C. Grabbe
What Is the Book of Revelation?


 

1 Corinthians 2:6-10

How plain! What we have in the gospel is a revelation. We must tie this concept of God's revelation to the word "mystery" (verse 7).

In English it does not mean exactly the same thing as in Greek. In English, mystery means "a puzzle that is difficult to solve," but in Greek, it means "a secret that is impossible to penetrate." So, the Word of God, His purpose and plan, is a mystery, a secret that is impossible to penetrate. Paul is implying that man would never find out what God intends, except that God gives it to us by revelation.

We have in no way earned this revelation. We have it because it pleased God to give it to us. He withholds it from others, but He has given it to us. He is in no way beholden to us, as if He owed us something. We could dig in His Word over our entire lifetimes and never come to what He freely gives to us for His purposes, for His own reasons.

Brilliant men like Adam Clarke have dug into God's Word through the centuries. It took him forty years to produce his famous commentary. Considering that the man was unconverted, it really is a magnificent work, done with all sincerity and dedication. Yet, at the end of his efforts, he did not fully penetrate the mystery of what God is doing among men. A brilliant man and a brilliant work, yet he emerged from his studies not understanding the divine purpose that God gives to us without our earning it. On the other hand, it is very likely that many of us never cracked the pages of a Bible before God began to open our minds. Some have, some have not. But God called many of us in that situation, and though we did not deserve it, He revealed His way to us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Grace Upon Grace


 

1 Corinthians 2:7

The word "mystery" is not the same as our English usage of the word. "Mystery" to the Greek meant not a puzzle that was difficult to solve, but a secret impossible to penetrate. It was something that was hidden and unintelligible to those who were not initiated, as into a secret society or as into a religion.

Most of you have heard of the mystery religions. What they did was unintelligible to those who were on the outside, but to those who were on the inside, what was being said or enacted in their ritual made clear sense.

This is the idea here: a secret impossible to penetrate, not a puzzle that is difficult to solve. What is crystal clear to those on the inside is unintelligible to those who are on the outside.

In like manner, to those who have received the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit has joined with the spirit in man, adding a dimension to their lives that they previously did not have (I Corinthians 2:11-12). So then, things that are crystal clear to them are unintelligible to those who do not have this added dimension. Thus, Paul says, the things of the Spirit have been revealed by God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 3)


 

1 Corinthians 2:9-10

The reason the rulers of the world did not understand (verse 8), did not put into the proper perspective, did not grasp what they saw in the Lord of glory is that God did not reveal to them who Jesus was, what He was doing, or why He was doing it. Those things cannot be discerned by physical means - eye, ear, nose, mouth, the senses - but they have to be revealed. A spiritual miracle must take place for a person to understand and to see these spiritual things.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 3)


 

1 Corinthians 2:10

The "us" are the members of the Corinthian church, and in its broad application the "us" is also those of us who have the Spirit of God, because Romans 8 says that those who have the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them are the children of God.

So the revelation of God, the Word of God, has been revealed to God's children through His Spirit, "for the spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God." God has revealed the mystery to us by His Spirit so that we can understand the things of God with the same clarity that we understand human things.

Paul uses the word "reveal." The English word comes to us out of the Latin, and it is used here to translate a Greek word that means "to uncover." Webster's first definition of "reveal" is quite interesting: "to make known through divine inspiration." It also means "to open to view" or "to make something secret or hidden publicly or generally known."

This is what I Corinthians 2:10 says: "God has made them known to us." We could say God has disclosed, divulged, or told these things to us.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Image and Likeness of God (Part 1)


 

1 Corinthians 2:11

There are experiences, ideas, and feelings in each of us that are so personal, private, and intimate that nobody knows them except we ourselves. And nobody can know these feelings unless we decide to reveal them.

In like manner, only God can tell us about Himself, which is why no man could ever find that knowledge on his own. God has to tell us who He is and what He is like. Does not Jesus say in John 6:44, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day"? Paul confirms Jesus' statement. Unless God chooses to make Himself known, we—no one—will never find out about His true nature.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Grace Upon Grace


 

1 Corinthians 2:13-15

True wisdom is the result of human reason coupled with revelation. Yet, even true wisdom will result only if a person believes what God says. Only then does a person have the opportunity to see God. He is hidden from those who put their faith in human wisdom.

Natural in this context does not mean "evil." It simply refers to one whose horizons are bounded by the things of natural life, by "the around and the about." Such a person is not equipped to discern the activities of God. But a person with the Holy Spirit can examine God's activities and make judgments based on them. Therefore, in his process of judgment, God comes into the picture. When the Spirit of God comes into a person's life, the basis of his judgment should change! This occurs, not because the person is any "greater" or "better," but because the Spirit of God equips him to see and to use godly wisdom. Now he can judge all things from God's perspective. This indeed is our responsibility!

Because God has called us, we should see God so clearly and know His greatness so intimately that we can live in the expectation that something great can happen at any moment to those who are receptive. The God who raised up Jesus is equal to any occasion—any possibility! Is anything too hard for Him? Certainly not! He throws that challenge out to man—to those who truly see Him.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Do You See God? (Part Two)


 

Galatians 1:12

"Received . . . from man" means something quite different from "according to man" in verse 11. The former is a technical phrase that we would not tend to recognize, indicating a process of memorization. A Jew of Paul's day would have understood this, as it was the method by which rabbis passed along rabbinic traditions to their students. They would walk along, or be sitting around the campfire, and the rabbi would instruct by getting his disciples to recite back to him what he had said. Since they did not have books as we do, and the scrolls were awkward to carry around, they memorized teachings, poetry, and songs, and passed them on. Everything was learned by rote. One can imagine the rigid personality this would tend to produce.

But the apostle Paul says, "My gospel did not come in this way at all." It was revealed to him: ". . . but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ."

"Nor was I taught it" is different from both "neither received it from man" or "according to man." "Nor was I taught it" indicates the normal type of instruction was not the way he received it either. The normal type of instruction is the way we receive it, in a classroom or church situation in which a teacher or preacher teaches or lectures.

However, Paul claims, "I did not learn it that way. It came by revelation!" Jesus Christ miraculously gave it to him in person—just as He gave it to the Twelve. Paul received it by direct revelation. Thus, in Galatians 1:10-12, he relates that he had a distinctive, revelatory experience paralleled only by the Twelve. And what was revealed to Paul has subsequently been revealed to us because Paul teaches it to us through his words.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part 24)


 

2 Thessalonians 1:7-10

Notice that II Thessalonians 1:8 says that God will take vengeance on those who do not obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. This idea has a strong tie to the book of Revelation, as the gospel of Jesus Christ is the "good news" that He brought. His good news is not primarily about Himself, but rather it is the message that He brought from His Father about the Kingdom of God being established on earth (Malachi 3:1; Matthew 4:23; 9:35; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 16:16-17). After the gospel is preached in all the world as a witness to all nations (Matthew 24:14), God will be justified in punishing all of those who reject it. The end of this present world will come when God takes vengeance on those who have heard the gospel message—which, at that point, will be everyone alive on earth—but who refuse to repent and submit to God's rule on earth.

The tie to the book of Revelation is that the unveiling of Jesus Christ, when He removes man from governing the earth and takes that responsibility to Himself, is the fulfillment of the gospel message that He brought. When Christ is revealed, the Kingdom of God will be at hand. Revelation fills in the explosive details of how the governments of this world will come under the rulership of God.

Even though the word gospel means "good news," people typically do not think of the book of Revelation as being encouraging or uplifting. For most professing Christians, the gospel that Jesus preached is not good news. They prefer a gospel that is limited to the forgiveness of their sins. When they hear that God's Kingdom includes repentance and obedience to His laws, they cannot tolerate it (Romans 8:7). For those who will not obey the gospel, the book of Revelation is not good news at all, because it foretells their judgment for idolatry and disobedience.

For true Christians, though, this book is wonderful news! It may not be "good" news in the sense of being pleasant, enjoyable, or attractive. Instead, its news contains a zealous, righteous goodness—an active pursuit of what is good for mankind, a deliberate and forceful bringing to pass of those things that will make life good for everyone. The entire creation will rejoice when the present principalities, powers, and broken governments of men are replaced with a King who will powerfully impose all that is good upon a sin-sick world.

David C. Grabbe
What Is the Book of Revelation?


 

1 Peter 1:3-13

These verses link the unveiling of Jesus Christ with our future and all that the Father is working out. Verse 3 recalls to us our status as children of God, reminding us that our hope lies in the resurrection from the dead, when we will be composed of spirit, able to inherit the Kingdom (see I Corinthians 15:50). God Himself safeguards this perfect inheritance, which can never be diminished, for all those who are regenerated and endure to the end.

Verse 5 reminds us that our salvation will be revealed "in the last time." This gives us reason for great rejoicing, even though various trials may grieve us. Those trials are necessary, Peter tells us in verse 7, so that the genuineness of our faith—the tried and proven character of our faith—may be found when Jesus Christ is unveiled to the entire world (cf. Luke 18:8).

Verse 8 points out the contrast that, at this time, we do not see Him with our eyes because He is still veiled, hidden from the world. His revelation has not yet occurred. Even though we cannot see Him now, we still love Him and can still rejoice because we know that the Father will soon send Him back to this earth. Then, every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7).

Verse 13 summarizes what we should be doing as a result of this understanding. We need to brace ourselves mentally, and think, plan, and act seriously and circumspectly, setting our hope wholly on the divine favor that the revelation of Jesus Christ will bring to us. For concurrent with the apocalypsis of Christ is the salvation of the saints, both living and dead.

David C. Grabbe
What Is the Book of Revelation?


 

Revelation 1:1-2

Verse 1 opens the book with the words, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." This is the book's real title, not what the Greeks titled it, Apokalypsis Ioannou?"The Revelation of John." In a sense, the apostle John is merely a witness or observer of the visions and sayings that we find within these twenty-two chapters, one who faithfully wrote them down for the instruction, preparation, and edification of the church (verse 2).

Apokalypsis means "unveiling," "disclosure," or "revelation," which is just the opposite of what most people suppose it means. The book is not intended to be a collection of arcane prophecies, mysteries, symbols, and warnings, but an uncovering of knowledge about "things which must shortly take place." As verse 1 maintains, the Father gave the contents of Revelation to Jesus Christ, who as Head of the church passed them on to His disciples through John, so that they would have all the facts that God allowed about the imminent future. God does not desire the book of Revelation to be a frustrating, impenetrable enigma, but as a gift of His grace, a sharing of privileged information.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The All-Important Introduction to Revelation


 

Revelation 1:1-2

The apostle John identifies himself as the human author and witness of the Revelation three times in the first nine verses (verses 1-2, 4, 9). He humbly calls himself God's "servant" (doulos, "bond-slave"), not even titling himself an apostle. In verse 9, he adds that he is "both your brother and companion in tribulation and the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ." He claims no special prominence or distinction; in his own mind, he is just a "regular guy" enduring the same trials in his walk to God's Kingdom as any other Christian. These few details are surprisingly more information than John normally includes about himself in either his gospel or his three epistles.

Traditionally, the book of Revelation has been ascribed to the apostle John, son of Zebedee (Matthew 4:21), "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 21:20; 13:23; 20:2), and no creditable argument has been put forward to dispute his authorship. When it was written about AD 95, he would certainly have been a very old man, but by all accounts, the apostle John lived to be nearly 100 years old, dying a peaceful death in the area of Ephesus sometime during the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan (AD 98-117).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The All-Important Introduction to Revelation


 

Revelation 1:1-2

The book itself tells us, right at the beginning, what it is about, but because of the way it is translated into English, we can read right over it and miss the book's own declaration of its contents. We are immediately told that this book contains the revelation of Jesus Christ. This phrase is the title of the book. But what does "revelation" mean? It is the Greek noun apocalypsis, which is why this book is often called the "book of the Apocalypse." This noun comes from the verb apocalupto, which literally means "to take away the veil," such as when a painting or statue has its covering taken away. Even though apocalypsis is most often translated "revelation," the best equivalent word in English is "unveiling."

In common usage, when someone refers to the "Apocalypse," or describes an event as being "apocalyptic," he is usually talking about widespread devastation or ultimate doom. Mel Gibson recently produced and directed a movie entitled Apocalypto, which portrayed the end of the Mayan civilization—and it was a very bloody end.

Using "apocalypse" this way derives from the content of the book of Revelation, not from the word's Greek meaning. Simply, apocalypsis and apocalupto refer to "taking away a veil" or "unveiling" rather than to cataclysmic events. However, in this specific instance of apocalypse, of a veil being taken away (when Jesus Christ returns), widespread devastation will in fact occur as this present age closes with wars and disasters.

In the Greek New Testament, apocalypsis appears in two senses. When used figuratively, it has the sense of "bringing someone to knowledge," as in the English phrase "remove the veil of ignorance." For example, when we say that a mystery is unveiled, we mean that the veil of ignorance is lifted so that the matter can be plainly understood. In terms of the book of Revelation, this is the sense that most interpreters and readers recognize in it. They see it as the unveiling of prophetic events to understanding.

However, when apocalypsis is used in a literal sense, it refers to "the visible appearance of one previously unseen," as a woman shrouded by a veil is revealed when her covering is removed. In Revelation's case, as the book of the Unveiling, apocalypsis literally refers to the visible appearance of One who is now hidden from human sight, and that One is, of course, Jesus Christ.

The New Testament consistently supports the literal sense of apocalypsis rather than the figurative, and that the "revelation of Jesus Christ" is not limited to His testimony or to His unlocking of prophecy. Instead, the "revelation of Jesus Christ" is, in fact, an advance record of His visible appearance in glory, to overthrow the spirit and human rulers of this world and to establish His Kingdom on earth.

A key to effective Bible study is to let the Bible interpret itself. Another key is to let the Bible's usage of a word determine its meaning rather than to rely solely on what it means in secular Greek or Hebrew. Apocalypsis appears in eighteen places in the New Testament, and in ten of those places—including Revelation 1:1—it is used literally, referring to a person or a thing. In every case, it denotes the "visible appearance" or "unveiling" of that person or thing, confirming how it should be understood in Revelation 1:1.

David C. Grabbe
What Is the Book of Revelation?


 

Revelation 1:4-8

Verses 4-8 comprise an extended greeting to the seven churches in Asia (later specifically named in verse 11, as well as in chapters 2 and 3). As the human author of the book, John includes himself as a sender of the greeting, but the bulk of it reemphasizes the real authors: God the Father, shown as eternal and sovereign, and Jesus Christ, extolled as "the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth" (verse 5).

John ensures that we understand that Jesus is the same One who exhibited His love for us by sacrificing Himself for the forgiveness of our sins and made possible our future glorification (verses 5-6). In verse 8, he carries the identification even farther by quoting Jesus' own words: "'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'" Lest we misunderstand, John makes certain that there is no doubt that Jesus is the Lord of the Old Testament, the first and the last (Isaiah 44:6; 41:4), the Almighty God, who "declar[es] the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure'" (Isaiah 46:10). This extensive greeting certifies, not only that the prophecy has its source in God, but also that it will come to pass.

The greeting also includes "from the seven Spirits who [or which] are before [the Father's] throne" (verse 4), a quite controversial phrase. Commentators are divided among four interpretations, which can be summarized as angelic, symbolic, mystical, and Trinitarian. Understandably, the Trinitarian view—that "the seven Spirits" identifies a so-called Third Person of the Trinity—has the support of most Catholics and Protestants. Their primary reason centers on the fact that this phrase appears between greetings from God the Father and the Son of God. They contend that this phrase refers to the sevenfold description of the Spirit of the Lord in Isaiah 11:2.

The book of Revelation itself identifies the seven Spirits as equivalent to the Lamb's "seven eyes, which are . . . sent out into all the earth" (Revelation 5:6). These "seven eyes" probably allude to Zechariah 3:9 and 4:10, where they are shown to be "upon the stone," a symbol of the Branch or Messiah, and directly described as "the eyes of the LORD which scan [or rove] to and fro throughout the whole earth." In addition, Revelation 3:1 states Christ "has [or possesses] the seven Spirits of God," and Revelation 4:5 calls them "seven lamps of fire . . . burning before the throne."

This may indeed be a description of the Holy Spirit, not as a "Person" somehow divided into seven parts, but as a seven-branched conduit of God's communication to the seven churches mentioned earlier in the verse. Thus, John includes "the seven Spirits" as a source of the prophecy to specify how it was imparted to the seven churches. The apostle Paul pens a similar greeting in II Corinthians 13:14, in which he writes of "the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit," meaning that God's Spirit is the means by which Christians can have a relationship with God.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The All-Important Introduction to Revelation


 

Revelation 1:9-10

John informs us that he "was on the island that is called Patmos" (Revelation 1:9), a small, rocky Aegean island just west of due south from Ephesus, employed as a prison or place of exile by the Roman emperors. Most prisoners were required to work the quarries and mines on the island, but John's advanced age may have allowed him to avoid such backbreaking labor.

He writes that he was exiled there "for [because of] the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ," an indication that his preaching had come to the attention of the Roman authorities, and judgment had gone against him. It is likely that John had spoken against the emperor cult (the worship of the current Roman emperor as a god, a practice that reached its height under Domitian, AD 81-96), and his exile rather than execution can only be attributed to Jesus' prophecy of John not facing martyrdom (John 21:22). The apostle perhaps remained on Patmos for less than two years, as such exiles were routinely released upon the death of the emperor who had exiled them.

Some Protestants and Catholics contend that John saw these visions on a Sunday because John writes that he "was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day" (Revelation 1:10). This is merely an unfortunate misunderstanding due to the prevalence of unscriptural Sunday worship throughout Christendom. In Greek, this phrase reads en teé Kuriakeé heeméra, literally "on the belonging-to-the-Lord day." Although it is different in construction to other instances of "the day of the Lord" in the New Testament, the meaning is the same. John is speaking not of the first day of the week, but of the time of God's judgment known throughout the Old Testament as "the day of the LORD." (Sunday, the first day of the week, was never known in the true church as "the Lord's Day," for Jesus Himself says He is "Lord of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:28), which is the seventh day.)

The apostle is giving the reader vital information about the time setting of his vision and thus the true application of the book of Revelation. Through the agency of God's Spirit, John received a vision of end-time events and related material that reveal to the church a unique understanding of the day of the Lord. Though couched in late first-century terms and allusions, Revelation is first and predominantly about the time of the end, when God through Christ will intervene in world affairs and establish His Kingdom on the earth. Most of its prophecies are only now beginning to be fulfilled or are still awaiting fulfillment in years just ahead. In a sense, the book of Revelation is as current as today's newspaper—even better, because we have it in advance!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The All-Important Introduction to Revelation


 

Revelation 1:10-11

Verse 10 teaches us that the book of Revelation is designed for the Lord's Day. The Lord by wisdom designed the earth. It was no feat, therefore, for Him to design the book of Revelation to be applicable primarily to the Lord's Day, that is, the Day of the Lord—the time that is shortly to be upon us. Undoubtedly, we are in the opening phases of it, the preparation for it. We are not yet into the Tribulation, which we understand will precede the Day of the Lord. Both the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are encompassed within the theme of Revelation. If there is any group of people for whom the book of Revelation ever applied more directly, it is those of us living now, although in type it also applied to the seven churches that existed at the time in Asia Minor (today's western Turkey).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 2-3 and Works


 

Revelation 1:12-18

By far, the most important feature of Revelation 1 is its long description of the Revelator Himself, Jesus Christ. John wants to be sure that his readers—the members of God's church—realize, not only who is revealing the future to the church, but also just how special and important He is to us now. In a way, the apostle is adding a final chapter to his gospel, showing us the awesome glory, power, and eternal nature of our Savior in His present role as High Priest and Head of the church.

When John turns "to see the voice" (verse 12), he beholds "One like the Son of Man" (verse 13) standing amidst seven golden lampstands, later explicitly identified as the seven churches (verse 20). John sees a glorious Being who resembles his dear friend and Master, Jesus of Nazareth, but this Person is far beyond human. He is God, in many respects just as the prophets Daniel and Ezekiel describe Him from their visions (Daniel 10:5-6; Ezekiel 1:26-27).

John had seen something like this in the past, and he recognized who it was immediately: "[Jesus] was transfigured before them, His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as the light" (Matthew 17:2). If anything, this vision had an even greater impact on John than the transfiguration did, causing him to fall "at His feet as dead" (Revelation 1:17), again as both Ezekiel and Daniel did (Ezekiel 1:28; Daniel 10:8-9).

Laying His right hand on John (Revelation 1:17), perhaps in healing or in blessing, Jesus tells the aged apostle not to be afraid because "I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death" (verses 17-18). In less symbolic language, He says, "Relax, I am indeed the Eternal God, but I am also Jesus, your friend, whom you saw die and then rise from the dead. Look! This is what it is like to have eternal life! I now have all power over life and death." Though he remained astonished, what a comfort that must have been to John!

And he passes it on to us so that we, too, might have both comfort and faith in what Jesus commands him to write, the book of Revelation (verse 19). This final book of the canon is not the delusion of a senile old man on a sun-drenched Mediterranean isle, nor the deceptions of another, more sinister spirit whose aim is to distract and corrupt God's people. No, the book of Revelation is a direct communication from our Lord Himself, given in love for His sheep, especially for those whom He calls to face the turmoil and terror of that great day of God.

We have this confidence: that Jesus Christ has ascended to the Father, having fulfilled His every assignment and received all things; that He is "the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth" (verse 5) and more besides; and that He will soon return to earth to set things straight (verse 7). In writing the introduction to his book this way, John has endowed us with the background information and the attitude we need to understand the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it (verse 3).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The All-Important Introduction to Revelation


 

Revelation 3:11

When was this prophecy uttered? The best guess is somewhere about AD 95 to 97. Christ said, "I come quickly!" Now what if we heard Him say that in AD 95? We would have thought, "Boy, oh boy! His feet are going to be on the earth any day now!" However, the book of Revelation applies to the end time, and within the context of the book of Revelation, the end time is that period immediately before the return of Jesus Christ. Then those words are a lot truer than they would be in AD 95. They are imminent.

But it has been 1900 years since Jesus said that. Was Jesus lying? No, because the intention for the book is for that period of time right before the end; maybe in those few decades before the end. In that case, we are within the parameters of a "season" in which certain events are taking place. Conditions are beginning to look like it is indeed the end time. Likewise, the prophecies of Paul or Peter are very general, especially in regard to when things would occur.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 3)


 

Revelation 13:1

Revelation is largely written in symbols. When used as a metaphor in the Bible, water can represent good or bad realities. Especially in large amounts, it can represent masses of people. Thus in this verse, the Beast is understood to be rising either from a heavily populated area or from the majority of all dwelling on earth.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Flood Is Upon Us!


 

Find more Bible verses about Revelation:
Revelation {Nave's}
 




The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment

Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving each day.

Email Address:

   
Leave this field empty

We respect your privacy. Your email address will not be sold, distributed, rented, or in any way given out to a third party. We have nothing to sell. You may easily unsubscribe at any time.
 A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
©Copyright 1992-2019 Church of the Great God.   Contact C.G.G. if you have questions or comments.
Share this on FacebookEmailPrinter version
Close
E-mail This Page