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Sermon #8601

The Book of Revelation

A Sermon on Revelation



Sermon Description

The book of Revelation can leave its readers with more questions than answers. The deep symbolism and imagery makes it seem impossible to understand exactly what the author was trying to say. In this sermon on Revelation, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones takes the listener through a brief overview of the main schools of interpretation. The preterist view, made popular by a Catholic priest, holds that everything prophesied in Revelation has already taken place. The futurist view, also made popular by a Catholic priest, holds an opposite view that the periods written about in Revelation are periods in the life of the church from the end of the first century and extending to the end of time. Thus, it views the events in Revelation as being fulfilled after the book was written. Another view is the historicist view, and this perspective understands Revelation as being fulfilled between the first and second comings of Christ. With all these ideas about how to interpret Revelation, it can be difficult to determine which one is correct. In this sermon, Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides helpful background for understanding these perspectives while also reminding the listener that the important thing is to understand the overall themes and progress of the book.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon begins by introducing the topic of the second coming of Jesus and the book of Revelation. Dr. Lloyd-Jones acknowledges the difficulty in interpreting Revelation but says it's important not to avoid it.

  2. There are three main schools of thought on how to interpret Revelation:

  3. The Preterist view: Everything in Revelation has already happened, referring to the early church's struggles. This view started in 1614 by a Jesuit priest to counter the view that the Pope was the Antichrist.

  4. The Futurist view: Most of Revelation refers to events that have not happened yet, especially a future 70th week of Daniel. This view started in 1603 by a Jesuit priest Ribera, also to counter the view of the Pope as Antichrist. There are two versions of this view: one where the church is raptured before the events of Rev. 4-22, and one where the church goes through the tribulation.

  5. The Historicist view: Revelation outlines the history of the church from Jesus' first coming to his second coming. There are two versions of this view: the church historical view which sees Revelation as an outline of key periods of church history, and the continuous historical view which sees Revelation as a precise chronology of church history from John's time to the present day.

  6. The Futurist view bases its interpretation on Rev. 1:19 which refers to past, present and future events, and Rev. 4:1 which refers to "things which must be hereafter." They believe "hereafter" means at least 2000 years later.

  7. The Historicist view sees Revelation as either an outline of church history (church historical view) or a precise chronology of church history from John's time to now (continuous historical view). The continuous historical view believes we are currently in the events of the sixth vial of wrath.

  8. The spiritual historical view sees Revelation as outlining principles of the kingdom of God and the forces fighting against it, rather than precise historical events. It sees the beasts as representing political and religious persecution of the church in general, not specific rulers or institutions.

Great Biblical Doctrines

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.