No book of the Bible has attracted more unfruitful speculation than the Book of Revelation. Yet God promised a blessing for the reading, hearing, and heeding of that book:
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3 NASB)
In order to gain that blessing and avoid the rabbit trails of speculation, we need to understand the main message God wants us to get, which is the contrast and conflict between the fallen world system and the kingdom of God. Note how this theme is developed in the following points:
1. The present world system is hostile to God and His people. Its values and practices are contrary to all God’s commandments.
2. The world system gets its directions from Satan (the serpent, the dragon).
3. The world system has its own form of religion that mimics God’s revealed faith and practice. An antichrist (the beast), a false prophet (an unholy spirit), and a false “father” (Satan). Note: the second beast superficially looks like a male lamb, but speaks like a dragon (Satan) (13:11)
4. This system is supported by deceptive “great signs” (13:13; 16:14; 19:20) Those who are seeking “signs and wonders” to support their faith will be especially susceptible to this deception.
5. This false religion persecutes true believers.
6. The evil world system is called "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." (17:5)
7. The evil world system uses religion to control the people, but once that control is accomplished, it rejects and destroys all religion but its own. (17:16-18)
8. God’s people are commanded to “come out” of this evil system. (18:4)
9. God’s people will be persecuted, even to the point of physical death, but they are assured of eternal life and a reign with Christ. (5:10; 20:6; 22:5)
10. A new heaven and a new earth in which there will be no sin, no tears, and no death await the faithful in Christ. (21-22)
The real danger in reading and studying the Book of Revelation is that we can get so caught up in trying to fit every detail into our preconceived prophetic scheme and world events that we miss the real message! God promises a blessing to those who get that message and live by it!
Have you bowed in simple trust to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? The time is short. God’s final message – the Apocalypse, The Book of The Revelation of Jesus Christ – holds great hope for those who belong to Him. But it proclaims eternal judgment to those who reject God’s Son.