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I remember my family moving from California to Tennessee and I would say things like, "This is my dog spot" in reference to a different animal or an inanimate object. The problem was, no one in Tennessee knew what I was talking about because the phrase came from a car company commercial in California.

I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches…" Revelation 1:10-11

Imagine standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon for the first time in your life. You've never seen pictures and you've never seen it on TV or in movies. This was the first time you ever saw it and someone said, "write down what you see and send that to your family". The words, the language, the imagery you would you is that which you knew your family would understand. You would use key phrases they knew, references they understand, imagery they would know, in a language they knew and a twenty-first century context. Now imagine sending that writing to someone in China. Do you think they would understand what you wrote? Absolutely not. This is the challenge we have with Revelation.

In studying Revelation, and any other book/letter of the Bible, we need to seek to know what the author meant when they wrote the letter and what the audience understood when they read it. This is the proper way to fully understand what the Bible is telling us. See what it says to them then find out how that relates to us.

We all know it was written by John but what people forget is that John was a Hebrew in the first-century. He had an understanding of first-century Hebrew literature, first-century Hebrew life, first-century Roman events, and first-century Asian problems. All these things need to be taken into consideration as this letter was written to the
first-century church of Asia minor.

As you will see in the study "
Who Was It For?", John wrote this letter to the seven churches in Asia minor. That's seven FIRST-CENTURY churches, in Asia minor. In order to "write what you see in a book" John employed Old Testament apocalyptic literature to gain a slew of remez's that the first-century reader would understand. He also referred to current events of his time, not future events. He referred to events that are history to us in order to explain what they were going through, about to go through, and hope of how this ends. John is using ancient apocalyptic books and current events to get his material. He's not merely writing what he's seeing. He's writing what he's seeing in a way that they would understand and in a way that will give the reader of that day a deeper understanding.

In error, the modern church tries to use twenty-first century understanding to gather information of a first-century writing and that causes great confusion. The best way to understand this letter is by referring to the Old Testament, first-century history, and first-century language; and that will better paint a picture of what this letter is trying to tell us. This is what we are going to do in this series.