Revelation: The Christian's Ultimate Victory

Revelation: The Christian's Ultimate Victory

by John MacArthur

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The book of Revelation unveils Jesus Christ in glory.  Written by the apostle John, Revelation was a letter to churches in Asia Minor who were feeling the overwhelming effects of persecution from all sides.  This book was a reminder that encouraged them to remain faithful.
Through vivid imagery, John writes Revelation to reveal the end of human history, the return of Christ, and the establishment of a new heaven and a new earth.  Revelation message of hope assures Christians that God is in sovereign control of all past, present, and future events, and that Jesus Christ will judge the lost and rule in ultimate victory over all human and demonic opposition.
The Mac Arthur Study Guide Series provides a twelve week, verse-by-verse examination of the books of the New Testament.  This revised and updated series continues to be one of the best-selling study guides currently available for individuals or small groups.
Features Include:
  • Twelve week study
  • Thought-provoking questions
  • Verse-by-verse commentary
  • Space provided for note-taking

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781418586706
Publisher: HarperChristian Resources
Publication date: 09/03/2006
Series: MacArthur Bible Studies
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishing
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 246,443
File size: 187 KB

About the Author

John MacArthur has served as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, since 1969. His ministry of expository preaching is unparalleled in its breadth and influence. In more than five decades of ministry from the same pulpit, he has preached verse by verse through the entire New Testament and several key sections of the Old Testament. He is Chancellor of the Master’s University and Seminary, and can be heard daily on the Grace to You radio broadcast (carried on hundreds of radio stations worldwide). He has authored numerous bestselling books, including Twelve Ordinary Men and One Perfect Life.


For more details about John MacArthur and his Bible-teaching resources, contact Grace to You at 800-55-GRACE or



Read an Excerpt


The Christian's Ultimate Victory
By John MacArthur

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2007 John F. MacArthur, Jr.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4185-8670-6

Chapter One

Back to the Future

Revelation 1:1–20

Drawing Near

On a scale of 1-10 (1 = representing "very little understanding" and 10 = "complete and full understanding"), how would you rate your current understanding of the book of Revelation and what it teaches about end-times events? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

What do you hope to learn from this study? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

When you think about the future of the world, are you optimistic or pessimistic? Why? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

The Context

Many people are fascinated, even obsessed, with the future. They faithfully read their horoscopes, seek out Tarot card readers, have their palms read, feed on futuristic scientific material, or call one of the many "psychic hot lines." All such attempts to discern the future, however, are in vain. There is only One who knows and declares the future: God (Isa. 44:7; 45:21; 46:9–10). Only in Scripture can truth about the future be found.

The Old Testament prophets, particularly Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Zechariah, provided glimpses of the future. Jesus spoke about it, as did Peter and Paul in their inspired writings. But the book of Revelation provides the most detailed look into the future in all of Scripture. The fitting capstone of God's revelation to man in the Bible, the book of Revelation unveils the future history of the world, all the way to history's climax in the return of Christ and the setting up of His glorious earthly and eternal kingdom.

The breathtaking vision of Jesus Christ that begins John's book shows Him to be the glorified Lord of the church. For persecuted believers at the end of the first century, this reminder of Christ's present ministry to them surely provided great hope and comfort. Revelation 1:19 provides a simple outline for the entire book: "the things which you have seen," refers to the vision John has just seen (ch. 1); "the things which are" denotes the letters to the churches (chs. 2–3); and "the things which will take place after this" refers to the revelation of future history (chs. 4–22). The first chapter of Revelation makes abundantly clear that Jesus Christ is the central theme of the book. It specifies that the events described lie in the future. More importantly, from a reader's perspective, it promises blessings to those who study and obey the contents of John's prophecy.

Note: This study of Revelation moves quickly through large passages and will only allow us to look at major themes and events. As we encounter more of the apocalyptic and cryptic language of the book of Revelation, it will not be possible to study all the symbols and meanings in depth. Be sure to use the study notes that are provided next to the passages for further interpretation of these things, or refer to my New Testament Commentary on Revelation (Moody Press).

Keys to the Text

Revelation: This word comes from the Greek word apokalypsis and means "an uncovering," "an unveiling," or "a disclosure." In the New Testament, this word describes the unveiling of spiritual truth (Rom. 16:25; Gal. 1:12; Eph. 1:17; 3:3), the revealing of the sons of God (Rom. 8:19), Christ's incarnation (Luke 2:32), and His glorious appearing at His second coming (2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:7). In all its uses, "revelation" refers to something or someone once hidden, becoming visible. What this book reveals or unveils is Jesus Christ in glory. Truths about Jesus and His final victory become clearly visible through this revelation.

Apostle John: John was an apostle and one of the three most intimate associates of Jesus (see Matt. 17:1; 26:37). John and James, his older brother, were known as "the sons of Zebedee," and Jesus called them "Sons of Thunder" (Matt. 10:2–4; Mark 3:17). After Christ's ascension, John became a pillar in the Jerusalem church.

He ministered with Peter until he went to Ephesus (tradition says before the destruction of Jerusalem), from where the Romans exiled him to Patmos. Besides the book of Revelation, John also authored the Gospel that bears his name, as well as 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John.

Unleashing the Text

Read 1:1–20, noting the key words and definitions next to the passage.

Revelation 1:1–20 (NKJV)

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,

2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.

3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,

5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,

11 saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea."

12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,

13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.

14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;

15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;

16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

1) What did John mean when he wrote "the time is near"? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

(Verses to consider: Matt. 24:36–39; 2 Pet. 3:3–4)

2) How did John describe the future second coming of Christ? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

3) How will unbelievers (Jews and Gentiles) respond to the return of Christ? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

(Verse to consider: Zech. 12:10)

4) Describe the amazing appearance of the Son of Man in this vision (vv. 13–18). What do these images convey about Christ? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

5) What effect did this vision of the risen Christ have on John? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

(Verses to consider: Gen. 17:3; Num. 16:22; Isa. 6:1–8; Ezek. 1:28; Acts 9:4)

6) Why is Revelation 1:19 such a significant verse in relation to our understanding of this book? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

Going Deeper

Revelation gives us a glimpse of who Jesus really is and the glory and power that are His. For more insight about Jesus, read Philippians 2:5–11.

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,

7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Exploring the Meaning

7) What do you learn here about Jesus' identity? How is this identity affirmed in Revelation 1? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

8) What does Philippians 2 say about Christ's past humiliation and its relationship to His present and future exaltation? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

9) Read Matthew 24:29–30 and 25:31. What do these passages add to your understanding of the second coming of Christ? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

10) Read John 11:25 and 14:6. What do these verses say about Christ being "He who lives" (Rev. 1:18)? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

(Verses to consider: Rom. 6:9; Heb. 2:14–15; 7:16; 1 Pet. 3:18)

Truth for Today

Jesus came the first time in humiliation; He will return in exaltation. He came the first time to die; He will return to judge His enemies. He came the first time to serve; He will return to be served. He came the first time as the suffering servant; He will return as the conquering king. The challenge the book of Revelation makes to every person is to be ready for His return.

Reflecting on the Text

11) Imagine seeing a vision such as John saw. When in your life have you had a profound experience or encounter with the living God? What happened? How were you affected? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

12) What does it mean to you that Christ, the Alpha and Omega, the King of kings, loves you and washed away your sins with His blood (v. 2)? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

13) How would your life be different (practically and specifically) if you lived each day with a continual expectancy of Christ's return? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

Personal Response

Write out additional reflections, questions you may have, or a prayer. ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

Chapter Two

Message to the Churches, Part 1

Revelation 2:1–29

Drawing Near

In the vision, Jesus instructs John to write letters to various churches. If Jesus were to send a message to your local church, what things might He commend your church for? Rebuke you for? Why do you think so? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

How would you define the term "Christian"? ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

The Context

In his book The Mark of the Christian, theologian Francis Schaeffer once observed, "The meaning of the word Christian has been reduced to practically nothing ... Because the word Christian as a symbol has been made to mean so little, it has come to mean everything and nothing." The term Christian in contemporary usage can mean anyone who is not Jewish, anyone who lives in a "Christian" nation (as opposed, for example, to a Buddhist or an Islamic one), or anyone who claims any kind of allegiance to Jesus Christ. Though the world may be confused about what a Christian is, the Bible is clear. Christians are those who are united to God through saving faith in Jesus Christ and thus are members of His body, the church.


Excerpted from Revelation by John MacArthur Copyright © 2007 by John F. MacArthur, Jr.. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


Introduction to Revelation....................1
1 Back to the Future Revelation 1:1–20....................5
2 Message to the Churches, Part 1 Revelation 2:1–29....................15
3 Message to the Churches, Part 2 Revelation 3:1–22....................25
4 A Vision of Christ in Heaven Revelation 4:1–5:14....................33
5 Opening the Seals Revelation 6:1–7:17....................43
6 God's Trumpets Revelation 8:1–9:21....................55
8 The Terrible Triumvirate Revelation 12:1–13:18....................75
9 Victorious Voices! Revelation 14:1–16:21....................89
10 Destruction and Devastation! Revelation 17:1–18:24....................103
11 Christ and His Kingdom Revelation 19:1–20:15....................115
12 All Things New Revelation 21:1–22:21....................127

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