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The year is A.D. 96. The Roman emperor Domitian has decreed that Christianity must be eradicated. The apostle John is now the last surviving disciple who actually walked with Jesus. And across the vast Roman Empire, fragile, fledgling churches are looking to him for leadership.

Of course, the Roman government knows this too and is determined to kill John. However, nothing they do manages to succeed—not even boiling him in oil!

That shouldn't come as a surprise. You see, by this time John is widely known as the "Apostle of Love." He is the one who has the greatest revelation of the Lord's love for us. He even calls himself "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7,20).

In reality, John's revelation of God's amazing love for His own causes him to function in the power of that love to such a degree they cannot kill him. Why? Because love never fails (1 Cor. 13:8).

When the Roman government realizes they cannot kill the Apostle of Love, they do the next best thing. They minimize his influence by exiling him to a tiny, barren island called Patmos in the Aegean Sea, fifty miles southwest of Ephesus.

Not a single tree stands on the four-mile-wide, nine-mile-long upthrust of blistering rock and sand. They put him there to die as so many thousands of others have before him!

Instead, he receives a supernatural visitation from heaven and writes the book of Revelation. Initially, it was written in letter form and addressed to seven young churches in Asia Minor—churches John had visited, nurtured and instructed. As with letters we write today, it had an introduction and a conclusion.

Chapter 1 of Revelation is the introduction. Chapters 2 and 3 are the instructions to the seven different churches—each church receiving a letter with its own specific set of instructions.

Chapters 4 through 21 are the text of the prophecy John was told he must relay to all seven churches. The closing of the letter begins in Revelation 22:8 and goes till the end of the book.

As you approach this extraordinary book, the first thing to keep in mind is that John did not author Revelation; he wrote it down, but he was not the source of it. He makes this clear right from the very beginning when he writes:

"John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne" (Rev. 1:4).

It is obvious the phrase from Him who is and who was and who is to come, refers to God the Father—the Eternal One. The seven spirits which are before His throne refer to the sevenfold anointing of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11:2).

Contrary to what some liberal scholars have suggested, John was not suffering from sunstroke when he wrote Revelation. What we read in Revelation is an accurate representation of what John truly was shown.

God considers the book of Revelation to be so important that He assigned both blessings and curses to it—blessings for reading, hearing and doing and curses for adding, subtracting or changing (Rev. 22:18-19).

Yes, we should approach this book with a great deal of reverence and respect. But we should also approach it with excitement and expectancy. You see, Revelation is God's "game plan" for the end times. And if we want to win, we must understand what that game plan is.

Source: The Last Millennium by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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