Daily Bible Reading for December 5, 2014, with Commentary: Revelation 1-6
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Author: John, and apostle of Jesus Christ
Date: approximately AD 95
Context: Welcome to Revelation! It is the final book of prophecy and the final book of the Bible. Have you ever sneaked peak at the final page of a book before reading it to assure yourself that, in the end, it all works out for the characters? Revelation is that final page. Do not be alarmed if you struggle with understanding this book! Many do and scholars often disagree on how this book should be interpreted. In your study, it is important to remember that this book was written just as much for us as it was for the people when it was written. My goal, with this commentary is to provide a brief overview of the day’s reading. I will not be providing in-depth analysis, but encourage you to perform your own research. The first chapter of Revelation is a formal introduction to the book, explaining that it is a vision given to John by the Lord. Chapter 2 and 3 contain seven letters to seven churches. Each church was given a compliment and a challenge by Jesus Christ. Chapter 4 begins a new vision, in the throne room of Heaven, where God is continual worshipped! In chapter 5, we see that Jesus, the slain Lamb, has indeed returned to His Father’s side to complete His Father’s plan. In chapter 6, the first six seals are broken, leading to events that echo what Jesus said was to happen before he returned.
World History: John wrote this book on the small island of Patmos. It is believed that Patmos was a Romand penal colony. At the time of writing, Ephesus was a leading trade center for the Roman Empire, was a large and wealthy city. It was also home to the temple of pagan goddess Diana (or Artemis), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Christian community was well-established from Paul’s visit during his missionary journeys. Smyrna was a prosperous Roman seaport city. The Christian community was established by Paul during his 3rd missionary journey. Pergamum was the Roman capital in Asia, known for its hospital/temple and its altar to Zeus. Thyatire was a minor town known for its trade guilds (similar to labor unions). Lydia, a seller of purple fabric and convert of Paul, was from this city. Sardis was a city that had fallen from glory and splendor in the Persian Empire to a modest city in the Roman Empire. Requests to build and imperial temple in the city had been denied. Philadelphia “the city of brotherly love” had been largely abandoned following a devastating earthquake in AD 17. Laodicea was a sister city to Colossae and Hierapolis and known as a banking center and had a large textile industry.