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Introduction to Revelation

When we open the Book of Revelation we discover, at once, a marked difference between it and any other portion of the New Testament. It is not history like the gospels and Acts, nor practical discussions and instructions like the epistles, but we at once seem to breathe the atmosphere of prophets like Ezekiel and Daniel. As Ezekiel and Daniel were permitted to behold visions which revealed certain great events of the future, in a series of symbolic images, so there passes before the eyes of John a series of wonderful visions of which he makes record, and has left that record to the church for interpretation. The book is a book of prophecy. “God gave to him to show unto his servants the things which should shortly come to pass.” In order to any clear understanding of the book we must never lose sight of its object, as stated in the opening sentence. Its object is to reveal the future. Nor is its aim to reveal some limited events of the future, but to show the things which must come to pass. In other words, its aim is to unfold the outlines of coming history as far as that history affects the fortunes of the church.

There is, unfortunately, no portion of the New Testament concerning which there has been more disagreement, and which has been less understood. The plan of The People's Testament will not allow me to occupy much space with these discussions, and I will confine myself to certain points which cannot well be passed over without prejudice to the correct understanding of the text. Among these questions are those of the Author, the Date when the work was written, the Place where it was written and the Principles of Interpretation.

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