Study of Daniel and Revelation

Sermons

Daniel

Daniel is named after its author and principle character. Daniel was taken captive to Babylon along with many others following the fall of Jerusalem in 605 B.C. He served as a governmental official in Babylon until its fall in 539 B.C. He then became a governmental official in the Persian Empire.

Daniel's vision in chapter 10 is in the third year of Cyrus the king of Persia. This would be 537 B.C. It is assumed that Daniel wrote not long after this vision, but it is impossible to date its writing more precisely than this.

According to the Ryrie Study Bible, Daniel's ministry was to testify, in his personal life and in his prophecies, to the power of God. Though in exile, the people of Israel were not deserted by God, and Daniel revealed many details about His plan for their future. He also traced the course of Gentile world powers from his own day to the second coming of Christ.

I. The Historical Section of Daniel - 1:1 - 6:28

A. Daniel's youth and training - 1:1-21

B. Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream - 2:1-49

C. Daniel's friends and the fiery furnace - 3:1-30

D. Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the tree - 4:1-37

E. Daniel interpreting the handwriting on the wall - 5:1-31

F. Daniel in the lions' den - 6:1-28

II. The Prophetic Section of Daniel - 7:1 - 12:13

A. Daniel's vision of the four beasts and Ancient of Days - 7:1-28

B. Daniel's vision of the ram, goat, and little horn - 8:1-27

C. Daniel's prayer and prophecy of the seventy weeks - 9:1-27

D. Daniel's last vision - 10:1 - 12:13

1. Daniel's vision and strengthening 10:1 - 11:1

2. Daniel's prophecies - 11:2 - 12:13

a. Concerning Persia - 11:2

b. Concerning Greece - 11:3-4

c. Concerning Egypt and Syria - 11:5-20

d. Concerning Antiochus Epiphanes - 11:21-35

e. Concerning antichrist - 11:36-45

f. Concerning Israel - 12:1-13

Background of Revelation

The Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, wrote the Book of Revelation somewhere around AD 95, near the end of the reign of the Roman emperor named Domitian, approximately sixty-five years after the resurrection of Christ. The churches were facing difficult times near the end of the first century AD. Persecution from outside the local church was commonplace, and so were problems inside the local church. The church at Ephesus was commended for both her endurance and her discernment of evil men, the church at Smyrna would have tribulation ten days, Antipas had been martyred in Pergamos, Thyatira would have great tribulation, and Philadelphia was promised the Lord's protection from the hour of trial which would come upon all the world. John had been exiled to Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Would Christianity survive? Would Satan annihilate it? How bad would it get? John wrote Revelation to answer these questions. Revelation is prophetic. It clearly indicates that Satan will be cast out of heaven and that the saints will overcome him by the blood of the Lamb. Eventually Satan and his followers will be cast into the lake of fire. Christianity will indeed survive, and the church will appear in heaven as a bride adorned for her husband.

Revelation is regarded by some as apocalyptic literature, the sort of literature which is written in times of trouble, which conveys its message by means of signs, symbols, dreams, and visions, and which promises the eventual triumph of good over evil. It must be remembered, however, that God directed John in the writing of the Book of Revelation and that in Revelation 1:2 the Book of Revelation is stated to be prophecy.

The Message of Revelation

The Revelation of Jesus Christ is the second coming of Jesus Christ. Chapters 1-3 deal with things occurring prior to the rapture of believers. Chapters 4-19 deal with events which occur during the tribulation and culminate in chapter 19 with the second coming of Christ. Chapter 20 deals with events which occur during the millennium, and chapters 21-22 deal with eternity future. Revelation is particularly concerned with the great tribulation, the last half of the seven-year tribulation. Christ is seen as the ruler of the kings of the earth, as the beginning and the end, as the first and the last, as the bridegroom, as the head of the church, as the lion of the tribe of Judah, as the root and offspring of David, as the Lamb that was slain, as the King of kings and Lord of lords, and as the judge. He slays the enemies with the sword of His mouth.

As one begins to study the Book of Revelation, it does not take him long to realize that Revelation is not the easiest book of the Bible to understand. Before beginning this study of Revelation, there are several things the reader needs to keep in mind. There are a number of assumptions which anyone who is interested in a serious study of the Book of Revelation can be expected to make.

1. Not only does he want to master the Word of God, but also he wants the Word of God to master him.

2. Revelation is part of the Word of God.

3. The Word of God will never contradict itself.

4. God will never lead anyone contrary to His Word.

5. Revelation was written to be understood by God's people; therefore, they can understand it.

6. Although he knows that he will never really exhaust the depths of the Word of God, he wants to do his best to do so.

7. As far as possible, Revelation should be interpreted literally. It has been well said that if the literal sense of Revelation makes good sense to the reader, then he should not seek to understand it in any other sense.

Methods of Interpretation

There are four main schools of interpretation of Revelation found among modern-day expositors. The preterist school believes that the symbolism of Revelation has to do only with the day in which Revelation was written. According to this view, this symbolism has no bearing on the future. This view is common among liberal theologians.

A second main school of interpretation of Revelation is the idealist school. This school of thought regards Revelation as nothing more than a symbolic picture of the enduring struggle between good and evil and between Christianity and paganism.

A third main school of interpretation is the historicist school. Adherents of this view believe that Revelation outlines in symbolic form the entire course of history from the day of Pentecost until the second coming of Christ.

The fourth main school of interpretation of the Book of Revelation is the futurist school. Those that adhere to this view believe that the first three chapters of Revelation apply to the day in which the book was written or to the church age. However, beginning with Revelation 4:1 and continuing to the end of the book, everything in Revelation is regarded as future. Chapters 4-19 deal with events of the tribulation, chapter 20 deals with the millennium, and chapters 21-22 deal with eternity future. Events taught in Revelation 4-19 are interpreted as literally as possible.

Symbolism

Much symbolism is found in the Book of Revelation. It was likely used to make it difficult for Roman authorities to understand things which the believers would readily understand. The meaning of the symbolism is sometimes stated in the Book of Revelation itself; sometimes it is understood by reference to or inference drawn from other portions of Scripture.

An Outline of Revelation

The following outline of Revelation is based on Revelation 1:19, Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. The three divisions of this verse correspond with the three major divisions of Revelation.

Introduction and Greeting - 1:1-8

I. The things which thou hast seen: the vision of the glorified Christ - 1:9-20

II. The things which are: the seven churches - 2:1 - 3:22

A. The letter to the church at Ephesus - 2:1-7

B. The letter to the church at Smyrna - 2:8-11

C. The letter to the church at Pergamos - 2:12-17

D. The letter to the church at Thyatira - 2:18-29

E. The letter to the church at Sardis - 3:1-6

F. The letter to the church at Philadelphia - 3:7-13

G. The letter to the church at Laodicea - 3:14-22

III. The things which shall be hereafter: the tribulation, the millennium, and eternity future - 4:1 -22:5

A. The tribulation - 4:1 - 19:21

1. The opening of the seven-sealed scroll - 4:1 - 6:17; 8:1 - 9:21; 11:15-19; 15:1 - 16:21

Parenthetic: the heavenly scene in anticipation of opening the seven-sealed scroll - 4:1 - 5:14

a. The opening of the first seal: the rider on the white horse: the antichrist - 6:1-2

b. The opening of the second seal: the rider on the red horse: war - 6:3-4

c. The opening of the third seal: the rider on the black horse: famine - 6:5-6

d. The opening of the fourth seal: the rider on the pale horse: death - 6:7-8

e. The opening of the fifth seal: the martyred souls in heaven - 6:9-11

f. The opening of the sixth seal: the great day of God's wrath - 6:12-17

Parenthetic: The sealing of the 144,000 - 7:1-8

Parenthetic: The tribulation martyrs in heaven 7:9-17

g. The opening of the seventh seal: the seven trumpet judgments - 8:1 - 9:21; 11:15-19; 16:1-21 (the seven trumpet judgments are the seventh seal)

Parenthetic: a half hour delay in anticipation of the seven trumpet judgments - 8:1-6

(1) The first trumpet judgment - 8:7

(2) The second trumpet judgment - 8:8-9

(3) The third trumpet judgment - 8:10-11

(4) The fourth trumpet judgment - 8:12-13

(5) The fifth trumpet judgment - 9:1-12

(6) The sixth trumpet judgment - 9:13-21

Parenthetic: the mighty angel with the little book - 10:1-11

Parenthetic: the two witnesses - 11:1-12

Parenthetic: the great earthquake - 11:13

Parenthetic: the announcement that the third woe is coming quickly - 11:14

(7) The seventh trumpet judgment - 11:15-19; 16:1-21

(the seven vial or bowl judgments are the seventh trumpet judgment)

Parenthetic: the introduction of Israel, Satan, Christ, and Michael - 12:1-9

Parenthetic: the announcement of the coming day of Satan's wrath - 12:10-12

Parenthetic: the persecution of Israel during the great tribulation, especially the godly remnant - 12:13-17

Parenthetic: the introduction of the antichrist, the false prophet, and worship of the antichrist - 13:1-18

Parenthetic: the Lamb and the 144,000 on Mount Zion - 14:1-5

Parenthetic: the angel with the everlasting gospel - 14:6-7

Parenthetic: the doom of the worshipers of the beast and the blessing of the saints - 14:8-13

Parenthetic: preparation for the seven vial judgments or bowl judgments - 15:1 - 16:1

(a) The first bowl judgment - 16:2

(b) The second bowl judgment - 16:3

(c) The third bowl judgment - 16:4-7

(d) The fourth bowl judgment - 16:8-9

(e) The fifth bowl judgment - 16:10-11

(f) The sixth bowl judgment - 16:12-16

(g) The seventh bowl judgment - 16:17-21

Parenthetic: the fall of Babylon - 17:1 - 18:24

(a) Ecclesiastical Babylon - 17:1-18

(b) Political and commercial Babylon - 18:1-24

2. The second coming of Christ - 19:1-21

B. The millennium - 20:1-15

1. The binding of Satan in the bottomless pit - 20:1-3

2. The resurrection and judgment of the tribulation martyrs - 20:4-6

3. The loosing of Satan and the final revolt against God - 20:7-9

4. The casting of Satan into the lake of fire - 20:10

5. The great white throne judgment - 20:11-13

6. The casting of the unsaved dead into the lake of fire - 20:14-15

C. Eternity future - 21:1 - 22:5

1. The new heaven and the new earth - 21:1

2. The new Jerusalem - 21:2

3. God dwelling with men and removing former difficulties - 21:3-4

4. All things to be made new - 21:5-6

5. The eternal destinies of the saved and the lost - 21:7-8

6. The Lamb's wife, the great city, the holy Jerusalem - 21:9-25

7. The river of the water of life - 22:1

8. The tree of life - 22:2

9. The throne of God - 22:3

10. Heavenly bliss - 22:4-5

Conclusion: final instructions and invitation - 22:6-21