CHAPTER I – Revelation 启示录 1:1-3 –   末世预言 PROPHECY OF THE END TIMES

启示录的信息 The Message of the Book of Revelation by Rev. Carpus Yip 葉華牧師/Bilingual Edition  ( 简体中文 Simplified Chinese  and English)

 

CHAPTER I
末世预言 (启示录1:1-3)
PROPHECY OF THE END TIMES — REVELATION 1:1-3

圣经是一本奇特的书,它有很多末日的预言已经应验,所以我们也
可以肯定,其余部份的预言,也必定要应验。
The Bible is an amazing book, many of its prophecies about the end times have already been fulfilled, so we can be sure that the remaining part of the prophecies will definitely be fulfilled.

预言描写未来事物的方式,常是用象征性的语言。启示录像一个拼
图游戏的母板,如果对人类历史有不清楚的地方,我们只要把启示录的图拼出来,就会看见神的整个大计划出现。
Prophecies about the future are often written in symbolic language. Revelation is like a jigsaw puzzle, if some parts of the human history are unclear, we just have to look for the missing pieces and put them together, that way we will be able to see God’s perfect plan. We just need patience to put the puzzle together.

有人以为,只要好好用心做基督徒、努力见证主,至于预言,可以
不必研究。其实如果真要做好主的门徒,或要作好主的见证人,就要用心去读圣经的预言。为什么呢?
Some people think that as long and they are good Christians and witness for the lord, they do not need to study the prophecies in the Bible. In fact, if you really want to be a good disciple of the Lord, or be witnesses for Him, you have to study the prophecies in the bible very carefully. Why?

因为这是神的启示
BECAUSE IT IS THE REVELATION OF GOD

1耶稣基督的启示,就是神赐给祂。
1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave Him.

这是神的启示,也是基督的启示。启示的原意是「揭开」。表示有
很多奥秘的事,藏在主的宝库里。神要打开让人知道。所有的预言都是出于神,因为只有神才知道未来发生的事。只有祂才能将百年、千年以后的事预先告诉人。以赛亚46:10说:「我从起初指明末后的事,古时言明未成之事。」未来的事,人无从知道,但神想把它向人预告。因为神的心意不是隐藏的心意。
It is the revelation of God and the revelation of Christ. To reveal means “to uncover”. There are many mysteries hidden in God’s treasure-house. God wants to uncover them so that people may know what they are. Only God knows what will happen in the future. Only He can tell people what will happen 100 years or 1,000 years from now. Isaiah 46:10 says, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” Nobody knows the future, but God wants us to know what will happen beforehand. God does not intend to hide things from us.

圣经其他的书卷,很多圣经学者在读的时候,都会注意他的神学思
想,保罗有保罗的神学,约翰有约翰神学。他们写书的时候,总带着他们自己的特色,自己的眼光,自己的看法。他们也会针对不同的对象,讲适合他们灵性光景的话。看路加写的福音与约翰写的福音,风格上有很大的距离,就可以明白
When Bible scholars study the Bible, they pay attention to the theological thoughts of each book. Paul and John each have their own theological thoughts. Their writings bring up their own distinguished features, their own vision and their own views. Their message was directed towards a specific group of people and their spiritual needs. When you look at the writings of the Gospel of Luke versus the Gospel of John you will find that their styles are very different.

很多学者研究每一卷书的时候,总要想当时他写给什么人?那些读
者有些什么需要?应当给他们怎样的信息。所以有许多学者对本书的解释是这样,它是写给当时在苦难当中、在动乱中,在罗马统治下的基督徒。有不容易明白的地方,是因为怕罗马政府的对付,所以用隐闭的言语。所以只要找出对当时信徒的安慰与鼓励的信息就够了。
Many scholars, when they study each book, they have to think about to whom the book was directed to at that time. What were the needs of the readers? What kind of message was given to them? Therefore, some scholars believe that Revelation was written for those Christians who were suffering and going through tumultuous times under the rule of the Roman Empire. The parts in Revelation that were difficult to understand were due to the fact that Christians were afraid of the Roman government so they used hidden language in their writings. Therefore, as long as they can find the message of comfort and encouragement for the believers at that time, then that is enough.

但启示录是非常独特的书。犹太人写书信习惯,不写自己名字,唯
独这本启示录他写上自己名字,指明是基督给他的启示。
But the book of Revelation is an amazingly unique book. When Jewish people write letters, they do not mention their own names, but in this book of Revelation the author writes his name, specifying that it was the Revelation of Christ to him.

这本书,我们不需要研究约翰的神学观,因为这本书从头到尾,都
不是他自己的话,他说得明白清楚,这书是基督自己告诉他的话,或基督差派天使给他看见的各种异象。所以我们不需要知道他对未来事件的意见是什么,我们只要知道他看见了什么。
For this book, we do not have to study the theology of John because from beginning to end, this book does not contain John’s own words. He said it clearly that this book is Christ’s own words to him, or visions showed to him by an angel sent by Christ. So we do not have to know what his views of future events are, we just need to know what he saw.

所预言的事是必定要发生的.
ALL THE PROPHECIES WILL DEFINITELY BE FULFILLED

1叫祂将必要快成的事。
1 to show his servants what must soon take place.

这本书,全部都是预言。很多解经人士想叫我们忽略这个事实,要
对待它像对待其他的书卷一样,只要找出属灵的教训,不必管事情将怎样发生,何时发生。他们错了,因为这书一开头就表明,它是一本预言的书。既是预言,就要知道它怎样应验。
All the events in this book are prophecies. Many Bible commentators tell us to ignore this fact, and to treat this book as the other books of the Bible. They tell us to look only for the spiritual lesson, and not to worry about how things will happen or when they will happen. They are wrong, because this book clearly states at the beginning of it that it is a prophecy. Since is it is a prophecy, we need to know how it will be fulfilled. A prophecy is different than a prediction. When the Olympic Games are held somewhere in the world next year, people might be able to predict that the prices of hotels will increase. Will this definitely happen? Not really. If the country where the games are to be held gets into a civil war, is boycotted by other countries, or suddenly faces a natural disaster, the Olympic Games might be canceled, and the hotels might have to have big price cuts. So what was predicted might not happen. The prophecies of the Lord will definitely take place soon, they will not change.

预言不同于预测。当奥运明年在某地举行之时,人能预测旅馆将会
大涨价,那是按情况推测。是否一定这样发生?不一定。如果该国发生内战,受国际杯葛,或遇大灾难,使大会不能如期举行,就会大降价。所以那不是必定发生的事。主的预言却是必要快成的事,不会改变。
This does not mean that God predestined those things to happen. It is a prophecy because God has already seen the future; He is just letting us know beforehand what will happen. It is something that mankind cannot understand. Because we live inside time, we have to follow a timeline. God lives outside time; He can see the whole entire history as it unfolds in front of Him. Of course He can tell us what will happen in the future.

有人说,这书的内容太多象征的话,不容易读。什么七头的兽、污
鬼、蝗虫、巴比伦、大淫妇。也有很多灾难,很多可怕的描写,所以不敢读。但我们要记得,我们的主把将要发生的事告知我们,目的是安慰我们,不是恐吓我们。叫我们知道祂是掌控万事的神。
Some people say that this book contains too many symbols; it is too difficult to study. What does it mean when it mentions a Beast with seven heads, unclean spirits and locusts, Babylon or the Great Harlot? Also there are too many catastrophic and horrifying events; therefore they are too afraid to study it. But we have to remember, the reason why our Lord wants us to know these events beforehand is to comfort us, not to terrify us and to let us know that He is God and He is in control of everything.

当我们预先知道未来的结局都是圆满的,中间虽然有惊险的事,也
不用担心。世界上虽然有很多叫人气愤的事,但我们知道结局的真相,就能以心平气和的态度来看待。它提醒我们,眼光要看得远,现今所遇到的并非结局,产难之后那新生的婴孩就出来了,那才是圆满的结局。
When we know in advance that the future outcome will have a perfect ending, though the midst of it might seem alarmingly dangerous, we should not worry. Many things that are happening in the world might make people angry, but we know the truth of how it will end, therefore we can face things calmly. He reminds us, look further away; whatever we encounter today is not the end. After suffering the pains of childbirth, the newborn baby will come into the world, and then it will be a happy ending.

所以我们的心要得安慰鼓励,无论遇到什么事,无论有多大痛苦,
总要对主忠心。启示录的七印、七号、七碗,都是在描写地上的灾祸,只有到第七号的时候,才称为佳音(10:7)。那必定是指到信徒被提的时候,是灾难中的喜讯
So our hearts are comforted and encouraged, no matter what happens, not matter how great the pain and suffering, we have to be loyal to our Lord. The seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls, depict the scourges on earth; only at the sound of the seventh trumpet will the mystery of God be accomplished, good tidings (10:7). That for sure will be the time of the rapture when the believers are caught up to be with the Lord in heaven, the joy among the tribulation.

这书的对象是给我们众信徒的
THE PROPHECIES OF THIS BOOK ARE WRITTEN FOR US, THE BELIEVERS

1指示祂的众仆人。
1 To show his servants.

神将未来的事启示给约翰,目的不是只叫他一人知道,祂要求约翰
指示祂的众仆人,就是要我们众信徒都知道。所以本书的对象,是给我们的,要我们好作准备。如果讲明是给我们读的,我们怎可以不读呢?
The Lord revealed the future to John, not only for him to know about it, but for him to show us, His servants, what must soon take place. Therefore, the purpose of this book is for us to read it so we can know how to be prepared. If it clearly states that we must read it, how could we not read it?

但我们要问:「为什么这么难明白呢?」有好些原因使我们不容易
明白启示录:
But we have to ask: “Why is it so hard to understand?” There are many reasons why we do not understand this book:

(一)这是二千年前的辞汇,而且是用不同的文字,就是古希腊文写
成的,古希腊文是已经停用多年的文字,这就有一定的困难。就像读中国古文、甲骨文,当然不容易了解。
1) It was written 2000 years ago in another language, which was ancient Greek. Ancient Greek has not been used for many years and that is one of the reasons why it is so hard to understand. Even if it was written in ancient Chinese or in oracle bone inscriptions, it would have been very difficult to understand.

(二)想像二千年前的约翰看到21世纪的电影,恐怕很多他所看见
事物,都不明白,他也没有现代的文字可以描写。他看见飞机在天空,他能怎样形容呢?大概是硕大的蝗虫包着铁甲,尾巴像蝎子,声音像许多车马奔跑上.
2) Imagine John from 2,000 years ago watching a 21st century movie. I am sure he did not recognize any of the things that he saw; he would not even know how to describe those objects. If he saw airplanes flying in the sky, how would he describe them? He would probably say they are like locust with breastplates of iron, with a tail with stingers like a scorpion and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. In those times people did not even know what gunpowder was, how could they describe the weapons of war that we use today?

(三)启示录有多种异象。有描写地上的事,有描写天上的事,有描
灵界的事。像人看画,有写实派,有抽象派,也有写意派,都要用不同的欣赏法。启示录各段都有不同的解释方法,不能一概而论。有些凭字面解,有用灵意解。
3) There are a variety of visions in Revelation: Visions of things on earth, in heaven and in the spiritual realm. Like people looking at different styles of paintings, some are realistic paintings, some are abstract, others are impressionistic paintings, and each style must be appreciated in its own way. Likewise, different parts of the book of Revelation might need different ways of interpretation, some parts have to be explained literally and other parts spiritually.

神用了最多的启示方法
GOD USED MANY DIFFERENT WAYS OF REVELATION

2-3祂就差遣使者晓谕(显示make known)祂的仆人约翰,
约翰便将神的道,和耶稣基督的见证,凡自己所看见的,都
明(见证)出来。
1-2 He made it known by sending His angel to His servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

神的显示包括(1)神的话,(2)基督的见证,(3)自己所看见的事。约
翰好像看见有声的电影,神把第一世纪以后的事,像放电影一样,给约翰看见。
God’s revelation includes (1) the Word of God, (2) The testimony of Jesus Christ, (3) and everything that John saw. God showed John the things that were going to happen in the 21st century as if he was watching a movie.

启示录里面共有44次约翰说「我看见」。没有别的书像它一样,
完全是启示。神在整个人类历史里面,唯有这本书,祂用了最多种的方法,启示给人知道祂国度怎样完成的事。历史中有多种启示方法:
John said the words “I saw” forty four times in the book of Revelation. There is no other book in the Bible like the book of Revelation that contains so many prophecies. God uses many ways to reveal Himself to humans throughout history:

第一种,是像摩西面对面听神说话。虽然他并不能看见神,因为神
用光云把祂自己遮盖。
1) God spoke to Moses face to face. Moses could not see God because God used clouds and fire to cover His own glory.

第二种,被提到三重天去。保罗与多位使徒们,魂游象外,能听到
隐秘的言语,能知道世人不知道的事
2) God took Paul to the third heaven. Paul and a few disciples had an out of body experience and were able to hear inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.

第三种,看见异象、异梦或看见天使报讯。像但以理、约翰、彼得
等人所见。耶稣降生的时候,约瑟也多次梦见天使的指示。以上几种,都是特别的情形,神要让人很清楚听明白所说的话。
3) God used visions, dreams and angels to relate messages. Like what Daniel, John, Peter and others saw. Joseph received instructions from an angel of what to do in his dreams many times. The ways of revelation mentioned above are very special cases which God used to give a clear message to certain people.

第四种,是默示inspiration。那是人心灵里得到灵感,用自己的
话写出来。先知的信息与多本经卷,都是用这种方法。他们写的东西,都有浓厚的个人风格.
4) Inspiration. After being moved by the Spirit, the writer would use his own words to record the message. The prophets and many books in the Bible are inspired by God this way. Their writings have a strong personal style.

第五种,是内心的感动,这是最基本神对人说话的方式。通常只有
是与非,只有红灯与绿灯,没有清楚的信息,有点像旧约的乌陵土明。
5) Inner feeling or voice, which is God’s most basic way for speaking to people. Usually is right or wrong, red light or green light, no specific message, like the Urim and Thummim from the Old Testament.

这启示录用了最多的启示方法:被提三重天、异象、天使报讯,他
自己的意见最少,都是神要对我们说的话。所以这本书岂可不读呢?
This book uses most of the ways of revelation: Being taken to the third heaven, visions, message from an angel. John’s own views are very few, they are all words spoken to us by God. How could we not read this book?

读启示录又跟着行的人有福了
THOSE WHO READ THIS BOOK AND FOLLOW IT WILL BE BLESSED

3念这书上预言的和那些听见又遵守其中所记载的,都是
有福的,因为日期近了。
3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

读、听又遵守的人,必然有福,因为他必定作好准备,过儆醒的生
活,将要在大灾难之前被提,是有福的人.
Those who read this book, those who hear it and those who take to heart what is written in it will definitely be blessed because they will be prepared for when these things will happen and will live a watchful life.

像突击的考试,许多人通不过,因为没有作好准备。常准备的人必
能通过。主吩咐我们儆醒,「免得那日子如同网罗,忽然临到我们。」(路加21)
Like an unexpected exam, many will not pass it because they were not prepared for it. Those who are always prepared will for sure pass the exam. The Lord told us to be watchful, “Be careful, or…that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.” (Luke 21)

祂吩咐我们,不要效法世界人的生活方式,不要跟随世界的引诱,
因为祂来像夜间的贼,是不会预先通知的。圣经多处都劝告我们,要儆醒。启示录中有七个「有福了」,全都与儆醒有关。
The Lord commands us not to be conformed to the patterns of this worldly life or to the temptations of this world because He will come like a thief in the night and will not announce Himself beforehand. The Bible tells us over and over again to be alert, therefore we should be watchful. In Revelation there are seven “blessed” words and all of them are related to being watchful.

什么叫作儆醒等候?不是叫我们辞掉工作,穿上白衣站在山上等。
乃是要求我们像管账的人,随时随地有人来查账,都无愧于心,没什么需要收藏起来的。
What does it mean to watch and wait? It does not mean to quit our jobs, wear a white robe and stand on top of a mountain to wait. Let us be prepared like a bookkeeper who has nothing to hide when someone comes to audit his books.

「因为日期近了」,这句话像讲了很久,已经二千年过去了,何时
才是真的近?我们知道事情已开始发生了,只要等最后一位天使吹号,我们就被提到主的面前。
“Because the time is near”, these words have been spoken for more than 2,000 years, so when is the time really near? We know that the events have already started to happen, when the last angel sounds the trumpet, we will be caught up to be before the Lord.

「论到时候日期」(帖前5:1) 保罗在这里用了两个辞描写时间,一
个指「次序」,像崇拜唱诗之后是祷告,到这程序就知道下一个程序是什么。另一个辞,有的时候会翻译作season,可译作「时机」。他所讲的时候日期,都不是时钟、日历所指示的时间。
“About times and dates” (1 Thessalonians 5:1) Paul uses two words to describe the timing. One refers to a sequence of events like during worship time; prayer comes after singing the hymns. At that time we will know what event will take place next. The other word sometimes is translated into season, or timing. The times and dates does not refer to the hours or minutes of a day.

「这福音要传遍天下,然后末期才来到。」(太24:14) 这也是说出
等候成熟的时间。就像禾田成熟,就是收割之时。不是钉着日历看,乃是要看成熟的程度。
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14). This is the time to maturity. Like the harvest time when the grain becomes ripe. Not according to the calendar but according to the maturity of the grain.

圣经的预言不是为满足人的好奇心的,乃是要使人知道应该怎样生
活。如果人知道明天强风要吹到,今天就会作好准备。启示录一开始的时候就应许我们,听而遵守的人有福了。
The Bible prophecies were not written to satisfy the curiosity of the people but to show the people how to live. If people knew that a hurricane would be coming tomorrow, today you would do some preparations. Revelation begins with a promise: Blessed are those who hear it and take heart what is written in it.