Scofield Reference Notes
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
SCOFIELD REFERENCE NOTES (Old Scofield 1917 Edition)
The Revelation of St. John the Divine
WRITER: The Apostle John (1.1)
DATE: A.D. 96
THEME: The theme of the Revelation is Jesus Christ (1.1), presented in a threefold way:
(1) As to time: "which is, and which was, and which is to come" (1.4);
(2) as to relationships -the churches (1.9-3.22), to the tribulation (4.1-19.21), to the kingdom (20.1-22.21);
(3) in His offices--High Priest (8.3-6), Bridegroom (19.7-9), King-Judge (20.1-15).
But while Christ is thus the central theme of the book, all of the events move toward one consummation, the bringing in of the covenanted kingdom. The key-phrase is the prophetic declaration of the "great voices in heaven" (Rev 11.15), lit, "The world kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ has come." The book is, therefore, a prophecy (Rev 1:3).
The three major divisions of Revelation must be clearly held if the interpretation is to be sane and coherent. John was commanded to "write" concerning three classes of "things" (Rev 1.19):
I. Things past, "the things thou hast seen," i.e. the Patmos vision, 1.1-20.
II. Things present, "the things which are," i.e. things then existing--obviously the churches. The temple had been destroyed, the Jews dispersed: the testimony of God had been committed to the Churches (1Tim 3:15). Accordingly we have seven messages to seven representative churches, 2.1-3.22. It is noteworthy that the church is not mentioned in chapters 5.-18.
III. Things future, "things which shall be hereafter," lit. "after these," i.e. after the church period ends, 4.1-22.21. The third major division, as Erdman (W.J.) has pointed out, falls into a series of six sevens, with parenthetical passages, making, with the church division, seven sevens. The six sevens are:
1. The seals, 4.1-8.1.
2. The seven trumpets, 8.2-11.19.
3. The seven personages, 12.1-14,20.
4. The seven vials (bowls), 15.1-16.21.
5. The seven dooms, 17.1-20.15.
Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
Sin. See Scofield Note: "Rom 3:23".
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
From 1.1 to 1.20 the Seer is on the earth, looking at the vision of Christ. From 2.1 to 3.22 he is on the earth looking forward through the church-age. From 4.1 to 11.1 he is "in the Spirit" (Rev 4:2; cf Ezek 3:12-14) observing things in heaven and on earth. From 11.1 to 11.12 he is in Jerusalem with the two witnesses. From 11.13 to the end he is in heaven observing and recording things in heaven and upon the earth.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
The theophanies. Rev 1:9-20 Gen 12:7
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
Hades, See Scofield Note: "Lk 16:23".
Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
things that are to be after these, i.e. after the churches.
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
The natural explanation of the "messengers" is that they were men sent by the seven churches to ascertain the state of the aged apostle, now an exile in Patmos (cf) Phil 4:18 but they figure any who bear God's messages to a church.
The messages to the seven churches have a fourfold application:
(1) Local, to the churches actually addressed;
(2) admonitory, to all churches in all time as tests by which they may discern their true spiritual state in the sight of God;
(3) personal, in the exhortations to him "that hath an ear," and in the promise "to him that overcometh";
(4) prophetic, as disclosing seven phases of the spiritual history of the church from, say, A.D. 96 to the end. It is incredible that in a prophecy covering the church period, there should be no such foreview. These messages must contain that foreview if it is in the book at all, for the church does not appear after Rev 3.22. Again, these messages by their very terms go beyond the local assemblies mentioned. Most conclusively of all, these messages do present an exact foreview of the spiritual history of the church, and in this precise order. Ephesus gives the general state at the date of the writing; Smyrna, the period of the great persecutions; Pergamos, the church settled down in the world, "where Satan's throne is," after the conversion of Constantine, say A.D. 316. Thyatira is the Papacy, developed out of the Pergamos state: Balaamism (worldliness) and Nicolaitanism (priestly assumption) having conquered. As Jezebel brought idolatry into Israel, Song Romanism weds Christian doctrine to pagan ceremonies. Sardis is the Protestant Reformation, whose works were not "fulfilled." Philadelphia is whatever bears clear testimony to the Word and the Name in the time of self-satisfied profession represented by Laodicea.
See Scofield Note: "Mt 13:11".