S E C O N D J O H N
Second John Is a personal letter from John to “the chosen lady and her children” (1:1) which some identify as a congregation of the Lord’s church, while others believe that this was literally a woman in the congregation who was being taken advantage of by the false teachers. Either way, the lesson is the same
2 John 9
9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.
Important teachings in Second John include: Warnings against false teachers, Identification of the Antichrist.
T H I R D J O H N
Third John is a personal letter from John to his friend Gaius. We’re not sure precisely who Gaius was because it was a common name at the time. Here is a great verse to memorize:
3 John 2
2 Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
John warns Gaius about yet another brand of false doctrine promoted by “Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, (and) does not accept what we say” (3 John 9). In the church there are always those who struggle to have preeminence.
Important teachings in Third John include: Warnings against false teachers, the importance of doing what is good.
And that brings us to:
J U D E
Jude was probably written by Judas the brother of Jesus (Matt. 13:55) around A.D. 67. Jude clearly identifies the purpose of his epistle:
3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.
This points to a common theme we have seen many times in the New Testament. We must be concerned about New Testament Christianity without the influence of the doctrines of men. So many of the teachings of man take us away from simple New Testament Christianity. Jude minces no words about these teachers in verse four:
4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Believers in Christ must hold to the faith of the gospel:
17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Important teachings in Jude include: The Faith Once for all time handed down to the Saints, Warnings against false teachers.
And that brings us to:
R E V E L A T I O N
The book of Revelation comes at the end of our Bibles for good reason. It is necessary to understand all of the other books in the Bible before one attempts to interpret Revelation.
Revelation is a book of visions, figures and symbols. It contains a very important message of encouragement to God’s covenant people, members of the Lord’s church. It has become the most controversial book of the Bible simply because it is easy to confuse people with the many symbols because most people have little familiarity with the Bible teaching as a whole. This seems, to me, to be one of the greatest problems with the study of this wonderful book. People would prefer to take the word of one individual as to the teaching and application of this book than to study the entire Bible for themselves and make an educated application based on the way the symbols are used throughout the Scriptures.
Some say that the visions in Revelation have already been fulfilled while others believe they will be fulfilled sometime in the distant future. Some attempt to relate specific events in history to the symbols, and many believe the symbols are referring to certain events taking place in the world today. This makes the study
of Revelation very difficult because there can be little agreement on the meaning of the symbols. The meaning of a particular symbol to one person may not even be close to what it means to another.
This much we know for certain, the book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John near the close of the first Century. I believe the best date is A.D. 96.
“I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
There is a method of studying Revelation which uses only Scripture to interpret the symbols. By using such a method, all should be able to come to the same understanding of the symbols because each is defined by the Bible rather than some speculative theory.
Revelation is a series of apocalyptic images shown to John by the Holy Spirit to set forth Christ as eternally victorious over all world conditions, and thus to encourage the Christians of John’s day, and of every succeeding day until the return of the Lord in judgment. This was a message that the Lord is coming to the rescue of His people shortly; therefore, fear none of those things. The book of Revelation must be kept close to Asia Minor of the first century if its message is to be rightly understood today. No interpretation can be regarded as the correct one if it would have been meaningless to those who had first received the book. They were suffering, they were being threatened and killed. They needed the message of hope and courage, and the Lord gave them the Revelation. it tells us that God can defeat all enemies. No one can stand against Him, neither can anything stop His people from doing His will. He is in control. Revelation has a message of hope for all people who will follow God and do His will, and a message of certain destruction for all who disobey him (Rev. 21:1-8).
The basic message of the book of Revelation is this: God loves his church and He will protect members of the church of Christ (both individually and collectively) throughout the centuries of man’s existence on earth despite the persecution that may come in various forms to ensure that she is safe from the attacks of Satan and his demons, and in the end, all who are faithful to God will live in His presence for all eternity while those who refuse to obey will be separated from Him in severe suffering for all eternity.
Important teachings in Revelation include: Why the church of Christ will be persecuted, Identity of God’s church, The Wrath of God, The assurance of God’s protection for His Covenant related church.