Far from the perception of it being a book of nothing but gory details about an antichrist, the tribulation, and the unsavoury end of all sinners, the book of Revelation is in fact a book that outlines the plan of salvation in a rather dramatic and interesting manner. The drama involved seems to serve a useful purpose as it gets the attention and stirs up the minds of unbelievers who wouldnâ€™t be otherwise convicted of their wrong course.
The prophecy of the seven seals brings into focus the measures that God will employ for the accomplishment of the final redemption of repentant sinners who, upon their acceptance of Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour from sin, are considered heirs of salvation. Beginning from Revelation chapter 4 the prophet John gives a description of the final stages of this great plan of salvation.
In Revelation 4 we see a scene where thrones are set in place; the throne of the Almighty God surrounded by 24 seats occupied by the 24 elders. The prophet John further tells us that in the hand of God was seen a book that was written within and on the backside, sealed with 7 seals.
Moving into chapter 5 we see where things take a dramatic turn. It seems to become a matter of grave concern that no man was found in heaven or in the earth that can be considered worthy to open the book, the same book that was seen in the hand of God, the Father. As the vision thus unfolds John, apparently, got emotionally involved in the whole scene; he was crying because no man was found worthy to open the book and to look thereon.
However, as it turned out, Christ was introduced as the one who is worthy to take the book out of the Fatherâ€™s hand. The fact that somebody had to be worthy to take this book out of the hand of God suggests that the things that are written therein are of great importance and eternal consequence to the destiny of mankind.
The first eleven chapters of the book of Revelation are better understood when we see it as a prophecy of the final stages of the plan of salvation where the repentant sons and daughters of Adam are restored to oneness with God. This restoration will be brought about by the high priestly ministry of Christ in the sanctuary of the new covenant. Therefore, a proper understanding of Revelation 1-11 requires a fairly adequate knowledge of the plan of salvation as it is revealed in the sanctuary service.
In contemplating the plan of salvation, it is very important that we understand one important but unpopular truth â€“ the plan of salvation did not end at the cross. While the death of Christ on the cross of Calvary is the most important ingredient in the whole salvation scheme, it does not mean it was completed there. If that were the case, then we wouldnâ€™t be hearing about a ministration in a sanctuary in heaven where Christ in His capacity as High Priest, intercedes on behalf of penitent sinners as we are taught in the book of Hebrews chapters 8, 9 and 10.
It therefore, means that in order for you to understand the book of Revelation a knowledge of Christâ€™s mediatorial work in the sanctuary is vital. And we can only understand this work via a study of the typical sanctuary service and sacrificial system administered by the Levitical priesthood. For this reason we are going to start off by examining the typical sanctuary service and the lessons it intends to convey in relation to the work of Christ in His different capacities.
As we go through the book of Revelation we will see the antitypical outworking of the same principles. Thus we will be able to see the transition in the plan of salvation from type to antitype; from parable to its actual meaning; from object lesson to actual reality.
In summary, the plan of salvation is divided into several different stages. They are as follows:
The Death of Christ (the atoning sacrifice)
The intercessory work of Christ for the remission of sin (the offer of forgiveness)
The intercessory work for the removal of the sinful nature (the purging of the conscience from dead works)
The confession of the sins of the penitent on the scapegoat the originator of sin
The close of human probation (the work of intercession ceased)