Quite often even the title of a book, especially one like The Revelation, can reveal much about its contents and purpose. The old cliché that one should never judge a book by its cover is, to say the least, quite true; however, to wrongly delineate the title of any book, especially one of prophecy like this book discusses, is to begin the person’s knowledge of what is to be read on a limited or possibly false assumption. Instead, when one chooses a book, magazine, newspaper article, or other reading material there should be conscious consideration of what that title says and all of the possible implications of it. To do so should lead to less miscomprehension of the material within the book itself.
“Talking from experience — and I’ve had a considerable amount of experience reading books and manuscripts in the past thirty-seven years (1988) — the Book of the Revelation (sic)is probably the single-most stimulating book in the entire Bible. I’ve probably read more books about Revelations (sic) than I can count fingers and toes of every person now working in my agency. And I can understand it too. It’s like modern poetry — it’s open to all sorts of interpretation, and everyone who fancies himself a home-spun theologian likes to cut his or her teeth on the book of the Revelations (sic). It’s malleable, interesting, imaginative, and lo if it doesn’t seem to fit the kind of apocalyptic atmosphere that this planet Earth is in the throes of at the moment. . . . (SML)”
Well, I do fit into the “home-spun theologian” group which Mr. Meredith categorizes the Bible student who has the ambition, drive and spiritual fortitude to both study the Scriptures and to produce a written work, lengthy or not, in the hopes of having it published; while not having the extensive formal education which would, in the eyes of the world, qualify that person to be considered worthy to attempt such a project. But since my call into the ministry of Christ, I have accumulated considerable knowledge about the subject and, though it may not be such as follows the common doctrines taught by established churches today the material presented in this book, I still believe, deserves serious consideration by theologians and laymen before tossing it to the wind as Mr. Meredith suggested to his employees they do. Sometimes the employer loses sight of his or her actual goal and should listen to the underlings who are still trying to succeed.
It is hard to follow the recommendations of a secular literary agent to change the message of this book, then to one similar to Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth (LGP), simply on the basis of that is what sells. When such an agent does not even recognize the real title of the prophecy about which this book was written, it automatically negates his boast that he “understands” the prophecy as he says he does. In the short quotation from Mr. Meredith’s review, given above he called John’s record of what he saw “The Book of Revelations” not just once, which could be marked off as a grammatical or typographical error, but three times. An error was committed by Mr. Meredith; but it was in his understanding of the vision, not his penmanship of which he is quite expert.
The name of this prophecy, this vision of the Apostle John, is not “The Book of Revelations” as Mr. Meredith and others have said thought-out the ages which connotes a series of visions which occur either consecutively or concurrently but being described separately. He did not find it titled that way in Hal Lindsey’s book which he held above all others and the prime example of “one of the big books in this field.” What Bible or Bible translation does he and others like him use who so often miscall the prophecy John gave as “The Revelations” in order to obtain their authority?
The “Authorized (King James) Version” entitles this sub-book of the Bible, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine (KJV); note there is no letter “s” on the word “Revelation” which would indicate plurality of visions. The same is true of the “New American Standard Version, “The Revelation of John.”
William F. Beck, in his translation of this prophecy found in the Bible translation entitled “The New Testament i the Language of Today,” gave it the simple title of “John Writes Revelation”; and Charles B. Williams “The New Testament in the Language of the People,” translated it to read simply, “The Revelation.” (FTT)
The Revelation of Jesus Christ (LAV) is the title used in this book for the simple fact that it emphasizes the vision’s singularity and continuity throughout the vision’s pages. However the translators of the “New International Version” of the Bible calls it, even more simply, Revelation (NIV). Even when one goes back to the Greek testaments it is found that, quite often, the title is influenced by the English version being used. But never is the word “Revelation” found in the plural.
The Greek work, (GRK) is defined by James Strong as “to take off the cover, i.e. disclose: . . . reveal” (ECB -gdnt #601); and the word (grk) (apokalupsis), the word from which is derived our word “apocalypse,” Strong defines as “disclosure: … appear, coming, lighten, manifestation, be revealed, revelation” (ECB–#602). It is this word of apocalypses “apocrypha” which appears in Dr. George Ricker Berry’s The Interlinear Literal Translation of the Greek New Testament as both the first word of the title of the prophecy and the first word of the writing itself. The direct translation Berry gives is the singular word “Revelation,” NOT “Revelations.”
Since the roots of the Greek word “apokalupsis” are its prime particle of “apo” which means “off” in English (ECS–gdnt#575) and “kalupo” meaning “to cover up (lit. or fig.); . . . cover, hide” (ECB–gdnt #2592) it follows that what is to be taken off is a “cover-up.”
“Cover-up should be a familiar term to anyone who lived through the Nixon presidency or who has read the history about that time meaning something which has been hidden over a period of time. The apocalypse, then, means the unveiling of something once hidden, not the final battle it is commonly thought to be.
As you may recall from Book One of this series the prophets, until the time of Jesus and even including John the Baptist, admitted to not understanding the messages contained within the prophecies they received through their dreams and visions and were told not to open the words to unseal the book (of prophecy) until “the times of the end” (DAN 12:9). Continuously Daniel had to call on the Archangel Gabriel to interpret his visions for him. Then, finally on Daniel’s last recorded vision, Gabriel told him to “shut up the words and to seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (DAN 12:4 – KJV).
For the many centuries since then men have literally been running “to and fro” and they have today reached a speed which, at the time Daniel wrote this, would have seemed impossible for mankind to achieve. And his knowledge? About 534 years before the birth of Christ statisticians can show doubled at the rate of only once every 200-300 years. This is obviously much slower than the doubling of mankind’s knowledge every 3-5 years estimated for today’s
Truly the prophecy given to Daniel about running “to and fro” and man’s increasing knowledge has been fulfilled, as just shown, in the physical, literal sense. But what about spiritually? In this series of books, if the reader has been reading them straight through and following the given scripture references in a Bible , they have been running “to and fro” in their Bibles and their knowledge is thus increasing. It is through the following of this pattern of study of the Scriptures established by the prophet, Isaiah, of gathering “here a little and there a little: (ISA 28:10-KJV) that this prophecy is fulfilled in its spiritual sense.
And so, what this extensive expose about what one word of the title of a prophetic book really says is that, finally, after millennia of wonder and confusion concerning the nature of God and the purpose of mankind, the Truth can finally be known. With this book, this unveiling of The Revelation, everyone’s knowledge of God will surely be greatly expanded.
It is strange, though, to spend so much time on just one word which, when The Revelation‘s author first wrote the book—since he surely had no intention to forcefully escape from Patmos in the physical and to print what he wrote for a multitude of eyes, but only to those whom he hoped would receive his letter—never originally existed as a title to the work at all.
It was placed there by later translators in order to make it seem more like what is commonly accepted as a book in “modern” society. Such “sides” have contributed much to underlying the cause of hiding of the Truth which can be found in the book of The Revelation even though the Lord Jesus, the Christ, revealed the way to understand the figurative language it contains nearly two-thousand years ago.
This should explain for you why I have spent so much time telling you what prophecy is, how to interpret it, and interpreting The Revelation into literal language before attempting to interpret what it means to modern people.
By doing this I believe that you are now prepared to understand why I believe that this prophecy, like other prophecies, deals with the history of mankind’s existence on this planet.
The chapters which follow will show the correlation between the prophecy of The Revelation and human existence since mankind’s first attempt to govern ourselves in Babel without the assistance or guidance of God. Study it well and prepare yourselves as it says, it is a matter of eternal life or death.