Bible Study: The Book of Revelation

Or The Apocalypse of John. Our Grace PCA church's adult Sunday School has started on this book last Sunday. So far so good. So I'll start making notes here.

Pastor Christopher used Joel Beeke's

The Revelation is about Jesus Christ.

Beeke divides the book into 7 parts:

  1. 1:1-3:22
  2. 4:1-8:1
  3. 8:2-11:19
  4. 12:1-14:20
  5. 15:1-16:21
  6. 17:1-19:21
  7. 20:1-22:21

And the hermeneutics of the eschatology is distinguished as these groups: preterist (all in the past), historic (identifying specific historic moments from the book), futurist (yet to happen, dispensationalists, etc.) and idealist (symbolism), Eclectic (taking more than one approach, absorbing all 4 above)

There's discussion of special numbers: 7 (completion), 4 (4 corners of the world, creation? I don't remember), 12 (All people of God), 10 (completion)

Update 9/27/2022:
Here I shall also add my own study. Starting with my outline. This is also because of the Friday Fellowship I have with the LECC church in Washington. I was called to lead 2 sessions on Revelation chapter 1. I also realized that I've had 贾玉铭's commentaries on the entire Bible (including Ecclesiastes and Revelation, both of which are currently involved in Bible study of churches I'm in) this whole time. I believe I bought these years ago before I was married, and perhaps at the time, didn't even know anything about the author.

Also, a good study resource is by Vern Sheridan Poythress. There are audio files in mp3 and some Sunday School pdf formats, but thus far the best is the one on website:

And here's a chart I tried to make on the 7 churches in chapters 2-3:

The Bible Project does a good summary of the book:

Part 1:

Part 2:

One interesting note is that some thinks that the apostle John is not likely the author of Revelation and possibly 2John as well. This is pastor Li of LECC Bible study. He sourced his belief to Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea, who cited Dionysius of Alexandria: The theory was that since John didn't name himself in the gospel, why would he called himself John in Revelation, or Elder in 2John 1; 3:John 1. But this is a weak logic: Why couldn't John sign some with his own name and some other anonymously? Why couldn't he call himself an Elder, Peter did (1Pet 5:1). Dionysius also allegedly claim that some has rejected Revelation because of obscure authorship, which was even attributed by some to the heretic Cerinthus and his lot "Cerinthians", who used John's name as a reputable authority for his fiction. Though Dionysius himself with mysterious awe in unknown authorship of it, accepted this book as inspired. However, Ireneaus (Against Heresies, V, 30) and Eusebius (Church History, IV) attested that the author was the Apostle John. Ireneaus was the disciple of Polycarp who in turn was disciple to the Apostle John.

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17 Responses to Bible Study: The Book of Revelation

  1. timlyg says:

    Chapter 1

  2. timlyg says:

    chapter 2


    v.11: Second Death - while many interpreted the first death as bodily death, which I don't necessarily object, but more importantly, I would say the first death is definitely the spiritual one.
    Aizhu from LECC Bible study strongly disagreed with me. I think there is no need to debate much about it, as this is a multi-factor interpretation, not for the weak minded.
    First, there is also the Arminians, who sometimes do not admit that our spirit is dead, meaning corrupted, departed from God. For there needs to be free will in man, to choose God, not the other way around.
    Therefore, they cannot organically connect to other verses of the Bible that speaks of the first death:
    Eph 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
    Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses
    J Vernon McGee's commentary:
    Dwight L. Moody put it like this: Dwight L. Moody put it like this: "He who is born once will die twice; he who is born twice will die once." [Not a bad quote] - then he went on about the Rapture, so in that sense, I think you will be inconsistence, if you hold to the bodily death only as first death, not to mention the error in the view of Rapture itself. So you have made yourself a double stumbling blocks: one from dispensationalism, second from the first death being interpreted as only bodily death.
    So secondly, you would have some inconsistency for interpreting the first death as ONLY bodily death.

    The first death is spiritual because God called it so - you shall surely die, the die is bodily, the surely is spiritual. The Spiritual will affect the bodily, but not the other way around. Hence, Spiritual is enough to entail bodily death.
    Stephen Tong gave death 3 kinds: 1. Spiritual - When Adam fell, separated from God. 2. Natural - when Adam died at 930, of the flesh. 3. Hell - Eternal punishment.

    v.14: The sin of Balaam: Turning Holy Truth into selfish superstition.

  3. timlyg says:

    Chapter 3

  4. timlyg says:

    Chapter 4

  5. timlyg says:

    Chapter 5

  6. timlyg says:

    Chapter 6

  7. timlyg says:

    Chapter 7

  8. timlyg says:

    Chapter 8

  9. timlyg says:

    Chapter 9

  10. timlyg says:

    Chapter 10

  11. timlyg says:

    Chapter 11
    Interesting debate when I led the Bible Study (3/24/2023) on this with LECC.
    There's mentioned of how to discern cult, when referenced to the two witnesses in the chapter.

    There's debate where I realized may not be possible in a group setting. For certain debates are so far apart the views that it that's a long one-on-one time.
    For example, on self sacrificial love between 1Corinthians 13:3 & John 15:13. I didn't get one lady's Chinese quote of the Corinthian verse (shows how much I am behind in Chinese Bible reading and language). The real answer to solve this confusion should be: theology of motive. For what is one dying.

    On their pastor's view of truth, he said "no one can 'own' the truth", I am not sure if he was going for the fact that all truth is relative. But then he appeared to base absolutely a view from the Bible, and then faith. So it's a matter of distinction between absolute truth and relative truth, which I think he was dancing around but not quite certain about.

    I would have said more to clarify but enough time was spent, it was 12:40am and the group leader was wise to end it there.

    For future note: It's important to stress the importance of absolute truth and relative knowledge. An example of this is how churches split up: some due the absolute treated as relative; while others the relative as the absolute. When important doctrines are jeopardized (relativized) then it's good to leave; when non-essential differences are absolutized, then it's better to work it out to settle the differences and not leave.

    Here is my lecture note:

    v1. Measurement = God's care (ezek 40-41)

    v.2 42months not quite referring to the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD, temple, altar are still preserved in v.1.
    temple = presence of God on Earth (through his people)
    Altar & Worsippers = true Christians sealed and protected (chapter 7)

    42months = 3.5 years (time, times, and half a time 12:14) = 1260 days (v3, 12:6)
    Daniel 7:25; 9:27; 12:7, 11-12.
    Instead of futurist interpretation of this (shortly before Second coming, rapture, 7 year tribulation), this is a period of persecution of limited time (11:9 3.5 days)
    Just before the Second Coming we are to expect a violent crisis that will bring intense conflict and persecution (2 Thess. 2:1-12).

    ****** 3/31/2023 Friday Bible Study
    So some good questions raised to consider:
    verse 5-7: What do they mean. I should have made it clearer, that not just that the Church has such authority, but She is given this by God. Therefore, ultimately God wins. God uses the Church from time to time to display a few drops of His might, beauty, and glory. 2Co 2:15 因为我们在神面前,无论在得救的人身上或灭亡的人身上,都有基督馨香之气。 Aroma of Christ, is the evidence of the true witness.
    That the power/authority given to the two witnesses, was the kind that grants us opportunity to see God at work. Not men at work, but through men of God. Therefore, one must refer to Elijah and Moses when context of those two verses are considered. The context must never be of independent interpretation as John MacArthur did it as well as his fellow dispensationalists.
    And because it is done through men, the effect is always temporarily. The force that stopped it, as God allows, is always (I would venture at this point, if not, at the very least must be the obvious wicked force that successfully stopped particular men of God and thus their ministries until the next cycle before Judgement Day) that of the Beast, which is in all forms: death, wicked men, supernatural, natural curse, etc. A drop of God's grace and glory for His children to savor in this world until eternity comes.

    v7-10: On the issue of suffering when I brought up the controversy of liberal and fundamentalist, I should have explored further by summarizing the theology of suffering, that once identified and know the 3-4 different categories of suffering sources, we would be at ease. But I was too focused on the question that linked avoiding suffering to the liberal view of just focusing on the practical to alleviate suffering.
    Tong on 4 kinds of sources of Sufferings:
    1st, Cursed world after the Fall:
    2nd, Self sinful caused (i.e. hate/vengeance vs. the Cross):
    3rd, Trial from God:
    4th, From Satan - Prevent him, pray:

    Extras from Tong's:
    Paul's view on Suffering
    Pray when you suffer. Knowing your suffering is more important then the suffering itself.
    On James 5:13 - Pray to God, Lord, I wish when I am in suffering, I tell you; When I am joyful, I tell others


    John as example and pattern for the church's witness.
    Rev 1:3 念這書上預言的和那些聽見又遵守其中所記載的,都是有福的,因為日期近了。

    2 Witnesses
    Some interpreters think of 2 literal individuals either before the fall of Jerusalem or before second coming.
    But more of symbolic vision of Christian witness - two lampstands (1:20 七燈臺就是七個教會)
    Like Moses and Elijah, the church bears prophetic witness. We call people to repentance and warn of coming judgment.
    Light and Salt of this world. Show God's glory at work, in marriage, in family, with friends.

    Why 2?
    - Matthew 17:3-4 Signifying Moses and Elijah
    - Deut. 17:6 minimum of two witnesses for truth required
    - Luke 10:1 72 disciples sent out TWO BY TWO

    Similar to John's role as witness in 10:11 elaborated to Christian role.

    v4: 2 Olive trees and two lampstands
    Zerubabbel & Joshua (leader & high priest return from Babylon captivity)
    Zechariah 4:1-14

    v5-6. Our message is one of power—power to save, or power to punish as well (carries God's mercy and wrath) (2 Cor. 2:15-17; Rom. 1:16)

    v7. Beast = chapter 13, counterfeiting trinity. False worship.

    vv7-10: Daniel's bestial kingdoms Dan 7:3 有四個大獸從海中上來...

    v8: Sodom, Egypt, Jerusalem => wicked oppressive cities and powers => crucified Jesus.
    The great worldly cities of all ages. Bent on independence from God, as was Babel.
    The war between the two cities, the city of God (Heb. 12:22-29; 11:16) and the city of man
    God's city triumph in the end (Babel destroyed rev.17-18, 21,22)

    v9: Sometime the wicked still do good around them. Imitation. Hard to tell. True black and white dishonoring God attitude shown. They want to make sure that the witnesses are dead. No burial. 3.5 days = 3.5 years in 12:14;11:2. Signify intense period of as if the church is lost. But 3.5 is not complete of 7, so not total dominion: Domitian, Diocletian, Spanish Inquisition, North Korean, Saudi Arabia's Islamic state, etc.
    3.5 also resonates with 3 days of Christ's resurrection. Martyrs death is victory not defeat.

    v10: Witness of God received as a torment. The witness of God’s people is odious to them, because they prefer the darkness

    v11: In your own life, see the deadly conflict and persevere unflinchingly in witness and loyalty to Christ

    vv11-12 Resurrection of Christ and Rapture of Elijah
    We must be willing to face martyrdom
    Rom 10:13 因為「凡求告主名的,就必得救。」
    God guarantees our vindication

    v15,17: God's kingly rule
    v.18 - 2nd Coming, last judgment.
    v.19 - true temple revealed which earthly temple was a copy. Ark, the most holy object in the tabernacle is seen. Lost since Babylon captivity. Used to be concealed from sight behind the tabernacle curtains.殿裡的幔子: the reveal of the glory of God's law (covenant words) and mercy (atonement cover)
    Thunder, lightning, etc. revealing of God himself. Like at Mount Sinai. Then comes chapter 21-22.

  12. timlyg says:

    Chapter 12
    LECC Friday Bible Study Song sharing by Sam:
    祢比這一切更美麗 小羊詩歌

  13. timlyg says:

    Chapter 13

  14. timlyg says:

    Chapter 14

  15. timlyg says:

    Chapter 15
    The Friday fellowship played this video instead of the usual 孙老师 series.

    The video showed a diagram which led me to think if this relates to the 666 symbolism @17:46: Chapter 6 (opened 6 seals), chapter 8-9 (blown 6 trumpets), chapter 15-16 (poured 6 bowls), all awaiting for the 7th or 777.

  16. timlyg says:

    Chapter 16

  17. timlyg says:

    Chapter 17
    I lead this chapter this last two weeks, using professor Sun's series as well as Poythress'. These are very good resources.

    v.1: There's two women in Revelation: Chapter 12 (the Church) and Chapter 17 (Babylon the harlot). One good, one bad. Chapter 17 = worldly city. Opulent but in vain depicted by the wilderness scene in Rev. 17:3, yet in luxury & beauty now superficially (v.4)
    v.3: "carried away in the spirit..." 4 times this experience John had: Rev. 1:10, 4:2, 21:9. They do carry a certain theme together.
    The red beast is depicted in detail in Rev. 13:1-8. Beast = power, imperial might and economy. Prostitute = pleasure and wealth, flirting with the Beast.
    v.6: Most heinous crime that this dominating city (v. 18) is the persecution of the Saints.
    v.8: reminds of Rev.13:8 - Those whose names were written in the book of Life (13:8 + of the slain Lamb) from the foundation of the world. This also touches on election, those who were predestined.
    The beast THAT WAS, and IS NOT (persecution at ebb at this time, from time to time), and YET IS = counterfeit of God's WHICH IS, and WHICH WA, and WHICH IS TO COME (Rev.1:4,8;4:8)
    v.9: Though in metaphors, the 7 mountains below the woman does remind us of the Roman Vespasian coin where Roma, female deity who personified the city of Rome sat with the 7 hills as her background. It would appear that this coin is rather rare. Thought I could easy by this, but I guess anything from the 70AD minted is hard find: sold in 2010 for 19k CHF (about 21k USD). Probably due to its connection with the Revelation 17 interpretation.

    v.10: Who are the 7, 10 kings? It's good to know your history (Christian heritage), of Rome, of the world (i.e. European union though the prediction of end times with 10 European nations were popular but inaccurately linked to Revelation as we now have more than 10 nations in the Union), but do not get trapped by the words of the metaphors. These are symbolic with relevance to today and ages to come, though not perpetually as the end will come as illustrated in Chapter 19.
    v.14: The Lamb shall overcome them - elaborated in Rev. 19:11-21.
    v.17: Decree of God. Will of God. To have evil fought evil. Idolaters turning against their idols. God was chief agent (though not culpable but sovereign) behind all this.

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