Revelation—Its Happy Climax!
1. How do we know that God wants us to be happy?
A REVELATION TO JOHN—this thrilling book of the Bible brings the divine record to a happy climax. Why do we say “happy”? Well, the Author of the Bible is described as “the happy God,” who entrusts “glorious good news” to those who love him. He wants us to be happy too. Thus, at the outset Revelation assures us: “Happy is he who reads . . . the words of this prophecy.” In its final chapter we are told: “Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll.”—1 Timothy 1:11; Revelation 1:3; 22:7.
2. What must we do to find happiness through the book of Revelation?
2 How do we find happiness through the book of Revelation? We do so by searching out the meaning of its vivid signs, or symbols, and acting in harmony therewith. Mankind’s turbulent history will soon reach a catastrophic climax, as God and Jesus Christ execute judgment on today’s wicked system, replacing it with “a new heaven and a new earth,” where even “death will be no more.” (Revelation 21:1, 4) Do not all of us want to live in such a new world, in true peace and security? We can if we build up our faith through study of God’s Word, including the stirring prophecy of Revelation.
Apocalypse—What Is It?
3. What do many people think that Apocalypse and Armageddon mean?
3 Is not Revelation also called Apocalypse? That is so, “revelation” being the English translation of a·po·kaʹly·psis in the Greek text. Many people equate Apocalypse with world destruction by nuclear warfare. In a Texas, U.S.A., city where great numbers of nuclear warheads were made, religiously inclined people used to say, “We’ll be the first to go.” Clergymen in that area were reported to have been “convinced that Armageddon is not only inevitable but also close at hand, and that the final battle between the forces of good and bad, of God and Satan, will take place as a nuclear holocaust.” *
4. What does the word “apocalypse” actually mean, and why is the last book of the Bible fittingly entitled “A Revelation”?
4 But what really is an apocalypse? Though dictionaries define it by using terms such as “an imminent cosmic cataclysm,” the Greek a·po·kaʹly·psis basically means “unveiling” or “uncovering.” Thus, the last book of the Bible is properly entitled “A Revelation.” Here we find, not a mere fatalistic message of world doom, but an uncovering of divine truths that should build in our hearts a radiant hope and an immovable faith.
5. (a) Who will be destroyed at Armageddon, and who will survive? (b) What grand future awaits the Armageddon survivors?
5 True, Armageddon is described in the last book of the Bible as “the war of the great day of God the Almighty.” (Revelation 16:14, 16) But it will be far different from a nuclear holocaust! Such a holocaust would likely mean the annihilation of all life on earth. On the contrary, God’s Word gives the happy assurance that only wicked opposers of God will be destroyed—by forces under God’s control. (Psalm 37:9, 10; 145:20) A great crowd of humans, out of all nations, will survive the climax of divine judgment at Armageddon. Christ Jesus will then shepherd and guide these to life everlasting in a paradise earth. Do you not want to be one of them? Happily, Revelation shows that you may be!—Revelation 7:9, 14, 17.
Searching Out Divine Secrets
6. Over the years, what books have been published by Jehovah’s Witnesses to shed light on Revelation?
6 As early as 1917, the Watch Tower Society published the book The Finished Mystery. This was a verse-by-verse commentary on the Bible books of Ezekiel and Revelation. Then, as world events continued to unfold in fulfillment of Bible prophecy, a timely two-volume work entitled Light was prepared, being released in 1930. This offered an updated study of Revelation. Light continued to ‘flash up for the righteous,’ so that in 1963, Jehovah’s Witnesses published the 704-page book “Babylon the Great Has Fallen!” God’s Kingdom Rules! This gave in great detail the history of the rise and fall of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, and it was climaxed with a discussion of the final nine chapters of Revelation. As ‘the path of the righteous ones grew brighter,’ particularly with regard to congregational activity, there followed in 1969 a 384-page volume, “Then Is Finished the Mystery of God,” which discussed the first 13 chapters of Revelation.—Psalm 97:11; Proverbs 4:18.
7. (a) Why have Jehovah’s Witnesses provided this book on Revelation? (b) What teaching aids are provided in the book for the benefit of readers?
7 Why was another book on Revelation published and reprinted at this present time? Much of the information that has already appeared is very detailed, and it has not been possible to translate and publish it worldwide in many languages. Hence, it was seen fit to provide a book on Revelation in just one volume and in a form that can readily be produced in a number of languages. Further, the opportunity is taken in this volume to provide teaching aids, including illustrations, charts, and summaries, that should help readers to grasp clearly the thrilling import of this marvelous prophecy.
8. What even stronger reason is there for publishing this book?
8 An even stronger reason for publishing this book is the need to keep up-to-date with present truth. Jehovah is continually shedding greater light on the meaning of his Word, and we can expect that our understanding of Revelation, along with other prophecies, will be sharpened as we draw closer to the great tribulation. (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 7:14) It is important that we be well informed. As the apostle Peter wrote concerning divine prophecy: “You are doing well in paying attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and a daystar rises, in your hearts.”—2 Peter 1:19.
9. (a) Along with other prophecies, what does Revelation show that God will create? (b) What is the new world, and how may you survive into it?
9 Revelation adds its testimony to many other Bible prophecies, showing that Jehovah God purposes to create new heavens and a new earth. (Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1-5) Primarily, its message is addressed to anointed Christians, whom Jesus has bought with his blood to become corulers with him in the new heavens. (Revelation 5:9, 10) Nevertheless, this good news will also fortify the faith of those millions who look forward to everlasting life under Christ’s Kingdom. Are you one of these? Then Revelation will strengthen your hope of living in Paradise, as part of the new earth, with the enjoyment of an abundance of peace, vibrant health, and an overflow of God’s provisions that will never end. (Psalm 37:11, 29, 34; 72:1, 7, 8, 16) If you want to survive into that new world, it is urgent, yes, mandatory, that you pay attention to Revelation’s graphic description of the epoch-making climax now at hand.—Zephaniah 2:3; John 13:17.
^ par. 3 Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich, Germany, January 24, 1987.
[Full-page picture on page 7]