Revelation The Open Book

This study starts with a summary of the importance of knowing the author of Revelation.

The goal of the writings is to help us understand the prophetic mysteries written there for us, while establishing a close, and personal relationship with the author.

While many Christians may have deep reverence and respect for the scriptures, the majority hasn’t fully grasped the deep, prophetic messages found in this magnificent book.

If you’ve experienced issues understanding it, or have given up on your studies, I invite you to make time to watch these videos. This project was created for anyone that has ever felt deciphering the prophetic mysteries are beyond their comprehension. Please make a commitment to approach this challenge face-to-face.

Begin by making a promise to yourself, and making a determined effort, to study the materials, watch the videos, and understand the Bible better.

Doing so will help you establish a close relationship with Jesus along the way.

Did you know, the book of Revelation is a summary of the entire Bible?

Also, Revelation is open to our understanding. You’ll find the most important messages for our times—the last days of earth’s history—in this book.

Five Critical Steps for Understanding the Book of Revelation

We will start with a reading of Revelation 1:1-5,11,19.

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” (Revelation 1:1-2)

Uriah Smith tells us that,

“Jesus Christ is the Revelator, not John. John is but the penman employed by Christ to write out this Revelation for the benefit of his church…It is not only the Revelation of Jesus Christ, but it is the Revelation which God gave unto him. It comes, then, first, from the great fountain of all wisdom and truth, God the Father; by him it was communicated to Jesus Christ, the Son; and Christ sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John.”

Uriah Smith, Daniel & the Revelation, p.323

Verse 3 continues by telling us that there is a blessing for those who hear these words and keep them.

“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3)

I want to reiterate that these mysteries left for us in the book of Revelation are not sealed. Many are under the impression that the Bible has been sealed to our understanding. Of this Ellen G. White, in her book, The Great Controversy, writes:

“The Bible was designed to be a guide to all who wish to become acquainted with the will of their Maker. God gave to men the sure word of prophecy; angels and even Christ Himself came to make known to Daniel and John the things that must shortly come to pass. Those important matters that concern our salvation were not left involved in mystery…The word of God is plain to all who study it with a prayerful heart… And no church can advance in holiness unless its members are earnestly seeking for truth as for hid treasure.”

–Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy p. 521, 522

“John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood…” (Revelation 1:4-5)

“Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” (Revelation 1:11)

First, let’s establish who was speaking to John. We can see that it was Jesus Christ who spoke to the apostle and asked him to make a record of the vision that was to be revealed to him. In the book Acts of the Apostles, Ellen White said that the names of the seven churches are symbolic of the church in different periods of the Christian Era.

She also spoke of the completeness of the number seven. In verse 19 we’re going to start to see the process the book of Revelation went through to get to us today, notice:

As you may already be well aware, the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation on a small rocky island called Patmos. (Revelation 1:9)

This is where he was banished by Emperor Domitian because of his faith and love for Jesus.

Did you know God promised a blessing for students of prophecy?

God Promised A Blessing To Students Of The Prophetic Word

“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3)

Meaning, anyone who gives diligent heed to the prophetic utterances found in the Bible, will be blessed. The object of God giving us this information is “to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.” (Revelation 1:1)

But there are requirements laid out for us before we can claim and receive these blessing.

I really like how Ellen White explains who the blessing is for:

“…there are those who will not read; the blessing is not for them. “And they that hear”–there are some, also, who refuse to hear anything concerning the prophecies; the blessing is not for this class. “And keep those things which are written therein”–many refuse to heed the warnings and instructions contained in the Revelation; none of these can claim the blessing promised. All who ridicule the subjects of the prophecy and mock at the symbols here solemnly given, all who refuse to reform their lives and to prepare for the coming of the Son of man, will be unblessed.

Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy pg. 341.2

On the same note, Matthew Henry, on his commentary on Revelation chap. 1, says the study of the prophecies,

“will repay the labour of the careful and attentive reader.”

Are you ready to receive it? Let’s talk about who it is the Scriptures reveal. Whom Did Jesus Say The Scriptures Reveal And What Was His Approach? Jesus said:

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)

The purpose of the Scriptures is to reveal Jesus. Now, take a look at what Jesus did when He was speaking to His disciples on their walk to a village called Emmaus.

“And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:23-27)

These verses are important, because it tells us He plainly opened their understanding of the meaning of the law of Moses, and the Old Testament prophecies, concerning Himself. This is how we are to study the Word.

Ellen G. White tells us that…

The hearts of the disciples were stirred. Faith was kindled. They were “begotten again into a lively hope” even before Jesus revealed Himself to them. It was His purpose to enlighten their understanding and to fasten their faith upon the “sure word of prophecy.” He wished the truth to take firm root in their minds, not merely because it was supported by His personal testimony, but because of the unquestionable evidence presented by the symbols and shadows of the typical law, and by the prophecies of the Old Testament. It was needful for the followers of Christ to have an intelligent faith, not only in their own behalf, but that they might carry the knowledge of Christ to the world. And as the very first step in imparting this knowledge, Jesus directed the disciples to “Moses and all the prophets.” Such was the testimony given by the risen Saviour to the value and importance of the Old Testament Scriptures.”

Ellen G, White, The Great Controversy pg. 349.1

Jesus is showing us the correct method of study. The Bible writers brought their readers attention to the teachings of Jesus. Today, the same methods are to be utilized.

When we explain the Bible to others, we have to lead our listeners to Jesus. Anything outside of this is a lie, even if the expositor is speaking the truth.

If the audience’s attention is not being directed to Jesus Christ, the speaker is a false teacher. Our personal opinions concerning the prophecies do not matter.

God has given us the key to understanding the books of Daniel and Revelation, which is Jesus.

When we study the Old Testament we must look for Jesus. We are to learn how He delivered Israel from the bondage of sin through the Sanctuary service.

We are also encouraged to understand this history so that we are able to unlock the symbols found in the book of Revelation.

Taylor G. Bunch said that “26 of the 39 Old Testament books are quoted from in Revelation, and of the 404 verses in the book, 276 are borrowed or copied from other Bible authors.”

Which means that if we want to be able to properly unlock the prophecies of the Bible, we have to find out what other Bible writers have said about these things. It’s also important not to force an interpretation or disregard anything that has been written in the Scriptures or by the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy, simply because these passages may not be easily understood.

Communication By Symbols And Parables

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:” (Revelation 1:1)

The word “signify” means to “communicate by signs, tokens, or symbols.

And the word “shew” (or “show”) in the context of Revelation tells us that there is a panoramic scene of the stream of time, which introduces the student to chronology.

Chronology is defined by Webster as “the science that deals with measuring time by regular divisions and that assigns to events their proper dates.”

You’ll find that the book of Revelation is presenting world events, nations, and religious movements in symbols. As we mentioned earlier, when we make a commitment to learn the prophecies, God begins to work on our hearts and begins to establish a close and personal relationship with us, through the study of His word. This is the process of sanctification.

This is why the Psalmist said,

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11)

And Jesus said that the Word of God sanctifies us, notice:

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” John 17:17)

Everytime you study the Word of God, you are being sanctified and renewed by the Spirit of God. This is why Paul writes:

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

But why then does Jesus speak in parables? According to Matthew, Jesus speaks in parables to entice the hearer to consider closely what was said. The reason people did not see, hear, nor understand His Word was because they had rejected Him.

We can see an example of this in John 8:43, where Jesus asked:

“Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.” (John 8:43)

In the previous verse He established that those who love Him would understand. As you continue to read His conversation with the Jews, you can clearly see that those who belong to God, hear His voice and believe in Him. Those who do not, will dishonor Him and are thus, the devils’.

“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

“He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” (John 8:47)

The same principle applies for us today.

If we reject spending time with Jesus, studying His word, we will not understand.

This is why apocalyptic literature is so difficult for some people to understand, because understanding it requires a special relationship with Jesus.

So while others are diligent researching prophecies on YouTube, and seeking knowledge in the Biblical historical narrative, or learning Bible chronology, connecting the past, the present, and the future with the complex Biblical narrative… or, whatever the Pope of Rome is doing… YOU, seek to learn about Jesus first, and all these other things will be added unto you.

Otherwise, it won’t matter how well versed we may become in understanding of these writings. Our knowledge of history and chronology will be to no avail. These events prophesied will find us unprepared, and we’ll end up receiving the plagues anyway…

This is why Jesus said,

“…Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. (Luke 8:10)

You see? Only the spiritually oriented will understand the Revelation of Jesus, because they will see that the prophecy is about Jesus. It’s not revealing what the Pope is doing, or what country to go hide so we can escape persecution, or what the elite may be doing to the population, or whatever other foolishness people may be teaching out there today.

This is all about Jesus. It has always been, it will always be. He is the way, the truth and the life.

Symbols Are Defined In The Bible

Let’s take a look at a few brief examples of Bible symbolism.

Let’s take a look at where the phrase, “to show,” found in Revelation 1:1, takes us.

In Psalms 25:14 we see the word “shew,” the verse says:

“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew (H3045) them his covenant.” (Psalms 25:14)

The significance of this verse is magnified in the words of Jesus, where He clearly tells His followers that He considers those who do commandments as friends.

“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:14-15)

Another important point about Psalm 25:14 is that Jesus is the “The secret of the LORD.” In Judges 13:18, we see the angel of the LORD telling Manoah that His name is secret. A close study of the next verse reveals that it was Jesus who spoke, because an offering was given to Him and “the angel did wondrously.”

“And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret? So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wondrously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.” (Judges 13:18-19)

Another couple examples can be found in the books of Daniel and Ezekiel.

Daniel 7:23 defines what a beast is in Bible prophecy.

“Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.” (Daniel 7:23)

Revelation 17:15 defines what waters means.

“And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” (Revelation 17:15)

And in Ezekiel 4:6 we see what a day is equal to in prophecy.

“And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.” (Ezekiel 4:6)

Here’s a guide of prophetic symbols for you to review on your time.

Authority of the Bible

Let’s discuss the reliability of the words of prophecy.

2 Peter 1:16-18 says:

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.” (2 Peter 1:16-18)

These verses are Peter’s eyewitness account of the power of God, but notice what verse 19 tells us.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2 Peter 1:19)

Peter is telling us that Prophecy is even more reliable than an eyewitness account.

…the Saviour declares: “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. Whoever is with singleness of purpose seeking to do God’s will, earnestly heeding the light already given, will receive greater light; to that soul some star of heavenly radiance will be sent to guide him into all truth. {GC 312.3}

God’s two warnings regarding the interpretation of prophecy

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20)

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19)

“The doctrines of grace and truth are not really understood by the larger number of our students and church members. Blindness of mind has happened to Israel. For human agents to misconstrue and put a forced, half truthful, and mystical construction upon the oracles of God, is an act which endangers their own souls, and the souls of others. “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18, 19. Those who, by their human construction, shall make the Scripture to utter that which Christ has never placed upon it, weaken its force, making the voice of God in instruction and warnings to testify falsehood, to avoid the inconvenience incurred by obedience to God’s requirements, have become signboards, pointing in the wrong direction, into false paths, which lead to transgression and death. FE 386.2

The testimony of the Alpha and Omega in regard to the punishment for making nonessential one word spoken by the mouth of God, is the fearful denunciation that they shall receive of the plagues that are written in the book; their names shall be taken out of the book of life, and from the holy city.” FE 387.1

Why do many believe Revelation is a sealed book?

“For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered. And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed: And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned. Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.” (Isaiah 29:10-14)

If we fail to establish a close and personal relationship with Jesus, the prophecies will be sealed to our understanding.

This is Satan’s strategy, to claim that the Bible cannot be understood. It is his studied effort to keep us from ever establishing a close relationship with God through the reading of the Scriptures, because the book reveals his devices.

Of this Ellen White said:

“Why, then, this widespread ignorance concerning an important part of Holy Writ? Why this general reluctance to investigate its teachings? It is the result of a studied effort of the prince of darkness to conceal from men that which reveals his deceptions. For this reason, Christ the Revelator, foreseeing the warfare that would be waged against the study of the Revelation, pronounced a blessing upon all who should read, hear, and observe the words of the prophecy.” {GC 342.1}

This statement brings us to our next question.

How much of the Scriptures are inspired?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

This means that twisting the scriptures to fit our own opinions and preferences, will result in a curse, rather than a blessing. If we are to truly understand the Bible, we need to understand the following, four essential principles:

  1. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor. 2:14)

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

  1. We must seek the LORD in prayer. (Isa. 55:6)

“Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:” (Isaiah 55:6)

  1. Study to show yourself approved unto God. (2 Tim. 2:15)

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

  1. I must verify everything that is being shown to me concerning the Scriptures. (Acts 17:11)

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

Revelation 1:3 tells us that Bible students will receive a blessing and John 7:17 teaches that anyone who establishes a friendship with Jesus, will know the doctrines.

“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3)

“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:17)

We must be willing to do God’s will as it becomes clear. Jesus Christ dedicated the book of Revelation to His servants, and promises to open our understanding to the prophecies concerning Himself, while at the same time, purifying us from our sinful ways.

Take a look at what Daniel 12:10 says about this:

“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” (Daniel 12:10)

Let’s begin our journey, asing the Holy Spirit to show us great truths about Jesus from Word of God, specifically, the book of Revelation.

And I will end this study with the following questions: Are you willing to obey what He’s about to show you? And, will you accept the gift of eternal life?