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Roy Millar - Revelation

Revelation

Many people shy away from reading and studying Revelation. This is a pity. The opening statement declares that what follows is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to his servants”, and that “those who read, hear, and keep the words of this prophecy are blessed”, and. this is re–emphasized in the last chapter. It is clearly a word from God and yet it can seem to be more a puzzle to solve than a prophecy to understand.

The task is difficult but, with the right keys in our hands, it is not the impossible task that it seems at first sight. Revelation consists mainly of a series of visions – revealing truth through visual symbols rather than simply using words. Revelation is placed at the end of the Bible. This is appropriate for it is both the culmination and climax of the great story of the Bible where the events of Genesis 1–3 find their resolution, and what a grand and wonderful conclusion it is! The visions may be wild and wonderful but the keys are found scattered throughout the Scriptures, enabling us to “Rightly divide the Word of Truth” (2Tim. 2:15), and to receive the promised blessing.

I have received help from a number of sources, including W. Hendrikson (More than conquerors), Leon Morris (Revelation), Michael Wilcock (The Message of Revelation), Robert H. Mounce (The Book of Revelation) and, particularly, Grant R. Osborne (Revelation), all of which I gratefully acknowledge. Needless to say the responsibility for the contents of these studies is mine alone.

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Roy Millar - Session 1 : Principles of Interpretation

Session 1 : Principles of Interpretation

At first sight Revelation can seem bewildering and even impossible to comprehend. We need to realize that it was written to “ordinary” Christians like you and I, for our instruction and encouragement. Revelation contains many strange visions in unfamiliar shapes and forms. They can seem bizarre and disconnected from one another. We need to approach it as a single book and see how the theme develops and grows and sits within a clear structure. ...

Roy Millar - Session 2 : Overview

Session 2 : Overview

At first sight Revelation can seem bewildering and even impossible to comprehend. We need to realize that it was written to “ordinary” Christians like you and I, for our instruction and encouragement. Revelation contains many strange visions in unfamiliar shapes and forms. They can seem bizarre and disconnected from one another. We need to approach it as a single book and see how the theme develops and grows and sits within a clear structure. ...

Roy Millar - Session 3 : The Eternal God, the Glorified Jesus and His Church

Session 3 : The Eternal God, the Glorified Jesus and His Church

Revelation begins by introducing the authors of the prophecy – none other than the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. It is not an epistle from Paul or Peter or even John himself, but from the Triune God. It is an unveiling of His purpose for His creation, and in that sense is ultimately a revelation from the Father, mediated through Jesus and the Spirit, communicated by angels, and sent through John to the church. It ...

Roy Millar - Session 4 : Letters to Ephesus, Smyrna & Pergamos 2v1–17

Session 4 : Letters to Ephesus, Smyrna & Pergamos 2v1–17

The first church, Ephesus, is one where there is much activity and resistance to heresy and immoral practices, and He commends them for this. Nevertheless, there is a fatal flaw – they have left their first love, for Him. Nothing can compensate for this, and they must urgently repent. This will maintain access to the Tree of Life, a symbol for fellowship and intimacy with God. The alternative is that the light of their life ...

Roy Millar - Session 5 : Letters to Thyatira & Sardis 2v18–3v6

Session 5 : Letters to Thyatira & Sardis 2v18–3v6

The fourth church, via Thyatira, is living under a dangerous deception. They are a very loving and serving church, but there is a major problem, even more serious than in Pergamos. They are tolerating someone with an evil and controlling influence, who is teaching that pagan, immoral practices can be combined with Christian teaching and practice. Jesus warns them that judgement is imminent for those involved, and also for the leaders who have failed in ...

Roy Millar - Session 6 : Letters to the Churches part 3 3v7–22

Session 6 : Letters to the Churches part 3 3v7–22

Following this cycle of letters to earthly churches, John is transported to the heavenly Court, to understand where ultimate power rests.  He sees a throne room with representatives of all creation gathered around the Throne of God.  It is an awesome scene, with power and majesty and glory, with constant worship of the one who created all things. At this point the central dilemma of Revelation appears.  Who can wind–up human history and restore ...

Roy Millar - Session 7 : Letters to Philadelphia & Laodicea – Chapter 3 v 7 – 22

Session 7 : Letters to Philadelphia & Laodicea – Chapter 3 v 7 – 22

The scene now shifts to earth. It is clear that what happens in the visible world is a consequence of initiatives taken in Heaven. The first of three cycles of judgement is about to take place on earth. The first four seals release the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, resulting in conquest, war, famine, and death. These effect are widespread but limited in severity. The fifth seal reveals the martyrs at the heavenly altar, calling ...

Roy Millar - Session 8 : The Lamb Opens the Seals Chapter 6

Session 8 : The Lamb Opens the Seals Chapter 6

The scene now shifts to earth. It is clear that what happens in the visible world is a consequence of initiatives taken in Heaven. The first of three cycles of judgement is about to take place on earth. The first four seals release the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, resulting in conquest, war, famine, and death. These effect are widespread but limited in severity. The fifth seal reveals the martyrs at the heavenly altar, calling out ...

Roy Millar - Session 9 : The Sealing and Security of God’s people Chapter 7

Session 9 : The Sealing and Security of God’s people Chapter 7

This vision is still part of the 6th seal but there is a break, revealing another aspect of the same story. It reveals another kind of seal to protect God’s servants in the midst of the universal judgements, given to those who already have the internal seal of the Holy Spirit. It has to do with authority. A king used a seal to authorise his commands. It signifies ...

Roy Millar - Session 10 : The First Six Trumpets Sound – Chapters 8–9

Session 10 : The First Six Trumpets Sound – Chapters 8–9

The Trumpets release judgements on “The inhabitants of the earth. The first scene in Heaven is the key to understanding what will follow. Before the angels are released to blow their trumpets there is another event to explain the background to the judgements. An angel is given much incense and as it comes in contact with the fire fragrant smoke ascends before God, carrying with it the prayers of the saints Fire fro the censer of ...

Roy Millar - Session 11 : John the observer becomes part of the action – Chapter 10 v 1–11

Session 11 : John the observer becomes part of the action – Chapter 10 v 1–11

The mighty angel with the “little” scroll 10:1–11. A number of symbols emphasize the importance of the verbal message he is bringing: His appearance portrays the glory of God, with echoes of 1:7, 15–16, and 4:3, 5. He plants his feet on sea and land – God’s universal sovereignty, c.f. v6, and13:1 and 11. He raised his hand to Heaven, – God’s solemn declaration of intent, ...

Roy Millar - Session 12 : Witness, persecution, and Vindication Chapter 11 v 1–18

Session 12 : Witness, persecution, and Vindication Chapter 11 v 1–18

Chapter 10 flows seamlessly into chapter 11. This is a difficult section to interpret but the former Scriptures provide us with the keys. John, acting under the authority of God, (see v3) is to perform the symbolic act. He is to measure three things: The Temple of God. The Altar (from which the prayers of the saints ascend to God’s throne) The Worshippers themselves. The outer court, the ...

Roy Millar - Session 13 : Daniel as a Background to Revelation

Session 13 : Daniel as a Background to Revelation

There are very few quotations in Revelation from the other Scriptures but around 500 allusions are present in the text. These are from many parts of the Bible and are essential to understanding the symbolic language of Revelation. Daniel’s prophecy is a major source of these symbols, especially in relation to the second half of Revelation. This session explores the text of Daniel to discover these tools of interpretation, without which our quest to understand Revelation ...

Roy Millar - Session 14 : The Woman and the Dragon – Chapter12

Session 14 : The Woman and the Dragon – Chapter12

We are introduced to the central characters in the drama of history. Who is this dreadful dragon? Who is this glorious woman who is pregnant with a male child? Who are her children? Here is a symbolic description of the cosmic war between the kingdoms of light and darkness. A decisive battle determines the final outcome but there are many other battles before the end. What are the weapons? How is victory achieved? This is the key ...

Roy Millar - Session 15 : The Two Beasts – The Servants of the Dragon – Chapter 13

Session 15 : The Two Beasts – The Servants of the Dragon – Chapter 13

The dragon calls forth his servants to attack God’s people and attempt to destroy His Kingdom. They are described as monsters or beasts, one fashioned after himself and the other a counterfeit lamb. Who, or what, are these beasts? The first represents totalitarian state power, as in Daniel’s visions, and the second one religion in the service of the empire. There have been many versions of both in history and also at the present time. ...

Roy Millar - Session 16 : Worship, Proclamation, and Judgement – Chapter 14: 1–8

Session 16 : Worship, Proclamation, and Judgement – Chapter 14: 1–8

Chapter 13 described a situation of war on earth. In that sphere there was intense pressure to conform and give allegiance to the dragon through his servants, to the point of death. Now we are transported to Heaven to see the from a different perspective. There is the sound of a new song and a revelation of the victorious saints, perfected in glory – the same ones who were sealed and protected in chapter7 and faced ...

Roy Millar - Session 17 : Review/Rest for the Saints – Judgement for the World – Chapter 14:9–21

Session 17 : Review/Rest for the Saints – Judgement for the World – Chapter 14:9–21

We pause for breath and recap on the journey so far. As Revelation gains momentum towards its awesome and glorious conclusion we need to have a clear picture of the way in which the whole book is structured. If we lose our bearings there are many speculative pitfalls into which we can easily tumble. After looking back and reviewing the journey we will be better placed to see clearly the road ahead. The second ...

Roy Millar - Session 18 : The Victorious Saints and the Bowls of Wrath – Chapter 15 vs 1 – 16:9

Session 18 : The Victorious Saints and the Bowls of Wrath – Chapter 15 vs 1 – 16:9

Once again we are transported to the heavenly realm to witness a scene of rejoicing, one that recalls the Exodus event and final deliverance from that oppressive situation. There is an outpouring of worship and thanksgiving by the saints gathered before the throne. This glorious destiny is portrayed once more, as a counterbalance to current distressing events on earth and an incentive to faithfulness. Many visions have occupied the intervening chapters since the seventh ...

Roy Millar - Session 19 : The Process of Judgement is Complete – Chapter 16:10–21

Session 19 : The Process of Judgement is Complete – Chapter 16:10–21

The first four bowls revealed God’s ultimate power over creation, demonstrating human vulnerability and the foolishness of man’s independence and rebellion against the Creator – sadly ineffective in bringing about a change of heart but nevertheless demonstrating the justice of God in His judgements. Now the power structures that underlie that rebellion are destroyed with consequent chaos and confusion, leading on to the last great battle against the forces of darkness – the Battle of ...

Roy Millar - Session 20 : Babylon and the Beast – Chapter 17 vs 1 – 18

Session 20 : Babylon and the Beast – Chapter 17 vs 1 – 18

The 5th and 6th bowls portrayed the assault on the throne of the beast and the last great battle. The destruction of Babylon was briefly mentioned in a previous section. Now the character of Babylon and her relationship to the beast are described as a prelude to the details of their final destruction. The church is the bride and the heavenly Jerusalem. Babylon is the prostitute and the wicked city. She is world society, culture, ...

Roy Millar - Session 21 : Babylon ripe for Judgement : Chapter 17 v 15 – 18 v 8

Session 21 : Babylon ripe for Judgement : Chapter 17 v 15 – 18 v 8

Babylon, comprising all that is wicked, unclean, and ungodly in human society will be disgraced, desolate, and destroyed. The agents of her destruction will be her former friends, “the kings of the earth”; having used her as a prostitute they now discard her. Unwittingly they act as agents of God’s perfect justice, “measure for measure”. Her end is swift as the angel announces her doom “Fallen, fallen is great Babylon”, echoing the fate of the ancient city. ...

Roy Millar - Session 22 : Great Babylon is Fallen – Hallelujah! – Chapter 18:11–19:7a

Session 22 : Great Babylon is Fallen – Hallelujah! – Chapter 18:11–19:7a

Several groups of people have a strong vested interest in Babylon, the source of their wealth and luxury. They stand afar off in fear and sorrow – all that they lived for has gone up in smoke. Others who suffered from her cruelty are instructed to rejoice in their vindication. In a dramatic action she is pictured as a great stone cast into the sea – gone forever. The scene switches to Heaven. The ...

Roy Millar - Session 23 : The Bride is ready – The Bridegroom is Regal – Chapter 19v7–16

Session 23 : The Bride is ready – The Bridegroom is Regal – Chapter 19v7–16

Suffering is past and now there is a joyful anticipation of the wedding, a wedding that has been awaited since the beginning of creation. The bride is beautiful and has made herself ready. Curiously, the wedding guests and the bride are one and the same. The Bridegroom has a war to fight before the consummation of the wedding. Babylon, the false bride has been eliminated. Now He will finish the process by dealing with the two ...

Roy Millar - Session 24 : The beasts and dragon are destroyed – Chatper 19 vs 17 – 20 vs 15

Session 24 : The beasts and dragon are destroyed – Chatper 19 vs 17 – 20 vs 15

Before the marriage supper of the Lamb takes place there will be another gruesome feast, following the final battle. In a sense there is no battle; the beasts and their followers are defeated by “the word of His mouth” and the beasts are consigned to the lake of fire. The dragon (satan) is confined for 1000 years so that he cannot deceive the nations, during which time Jesus reigns with His holy people. We discuss the various ...

Roy Millar - Session 25 : Final Judgement – New Heaven and Earth – Chapter 20:11–21:8

Session 25 : Final Judgement – New Heaven and Earth – Chapter 20:11–21:8

The goal of the New Heaven and New Earth has almost arrived. Babylon, the beasts, and the dragon have disappeared from the scene. The final phase of judgement is about to take place. John sees – a great white throne! Here everyone who has ever lived must stand in the awesome presence of the Creator God and receive His verdict, one against which there is no appeal and which will determine final destiny. Death itself ...

Roy Millar - Session 26 : The New Jerusalem – Like a Bride – Chapter 21:9–22:5

Session 26 : The New Jerusalem – Like a Bride – Chapter 21:9–22:5

We make the astonishing discovery that the Bride is also a City and the city is like a bride. There is an obvious contrast with Babylon – both city and harlot. Again we note that the New Jerusalem descends out of heaven from God. The description of the city is highly symbolic, emphasizing its dimensions and perfection and glory. It is the completion of God’s purpose throughout the whole of Bible history, including both Israel and ...

Roy Millar - Session 27 : Total Restoration – Even so come Lord Jesus – Chapter 22

Session 27 : Total Restoration – Even so come Lord Jesus – Chapter 22

We look in more detail at the symbolism of the street and the river and the trees and their connection to the throne – the source of all blessing. His presence with His people is at the very heart of the vision. This is what God always intended when He made the first creation. The events of Genesis 1–3 find their completion after all the twists and turns of events in between. Mankind is restored to ...

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