Commentary and Illustrations


Commentary and Illustrations

Understanding Mercy and Justice

Building Patient Endurance and Faithfulness

Permission is granted to print and make copies without changes for home and classroom use, but not for selling.

Commentary and illustrations by: James M. Mays

Special thanks to my wife Barbara, and numerous other friends and family for encouragement, valuable suggestions, and proof reading.

Copyright, 1994, and 2006: by James M. Mays

Scripture taken from the New King James Version


These notes are the results of several years that were spent teaching this book in a Bible class situation.  I owe a great debt to all those who participated in these classes and encouraged me to put these thoughts down on paper.  Above all things, I am thankful to my God for His ever present help and comfort.  Almost as much time was spent in prayer for help both in understanding this book, and being able to teach it to others, as was spent in actual study of the text.

The Revelation letter has a reputation for being very difficult to understand and many say it is impossible. Because of such thoughts and view points, few Christians have been willing to put in the time and effort necessary to come to a good working knowledge of the message and purpose of this great revelation of God to His people.  “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”: It is clear that ignorance is holding the door open for Satan to plant the seeds of deception in the minds of those who are not willing to put in an effort to know the truth.  The very fact that Satan has, by this great deception, turned so many away from the study of this letter should indicate the magnitude of the blessings that are promised in it.

Rev. 1:3 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.

There is no doubt that this is a difficult book to understand.  That was the intentional design; the message is cloaked, or veiled, so it may arrive at its destination without the hindrance of outsiders.  This type of writing is referred to as apocalyptic or uncovering.  In order to uncover the message the reader must be equipped with a good understanding of other scriptures.  Those outside of Christ are not so equipped; consequently the veiling is very effective.  Unfortunately, many Christians are themselves not well enough acquainted with the rest of the scriptures and thus find themselves veiled from a sound understanding of the valuable information in this letter.

Ignorance of the Scriptures is a terminal disease and knowledge is its only cure.

A correct and beneficial understanding of this book does not depend on having a Ph. D. in the history of the area or any other special scholastic qualification.  Two, and only two, commentaries are required to obtain a sound and useful understanding of the message of this letter. The first is the revealed Word of God, (the Scriptures), the second is the creation which testifies to God’s eternal power and Divinity.

Romans 1:20.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

If we are a human, existing in God’s universe, with rational thought capacity, having access to the Scriptures, we are equipped to understand all things that pertain to life and godliness.

II Peter 1:2-4.  Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The Revelation letter most certainly does pertain to life and godliness.  Any correct interpretation or understanding of this letter must be consistent with all other scripture. Truth is always consistent with all other truth. This is fundamental to the definition of the term truth. And God’s Word is defined as truth.

John 17:17    “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.