Ask Pastor Roger Barrier - Church Leadership

Do Pastors Have to Teach the Book of Revelation?

Do Pastors Have to Teach the Book of Revelation?

Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at

Dear Roger,

I am a pastor and my members are always asking me why I don't preach the Book of Revelation. Can you help me? Why should I preach this complicated book? How do I even begin?


A Frustrated Pastor

Dear Frustrated Pastor,

I am so glad you asked! I am completing a set of sermon notes to be used by pastors when preaching the Book of Revelation. They provide historical context, prophetic interpretation and application. Hopefully it will help pastors and Bible students like you.




Revelation 1:1-2: The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. 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.  Blessed…

A. Blessed, not confused, is the one who reads it. Revelation means “to reveal,” not “to hide” or “confuse.”

B. Some Bible books were sealed (Daniel 12:1-4,9) and not intended to be understood until the end of time.

C. Revelation is unsealed because the “time is near” (Revelation 22:10).


A. The gospels give us a picture of the human, humiliated Jesus. The theme of Revelation is the glory of Christ (Read Mark 13:32; John 17:5; and Acts 1:7). 

B. Revelation is more apocalyptic than prophetic. There is a difference. Apocalyptic writings are marked by distinctive literary features, particularly prediction of future events and accounts of visionary experiences or journeys to heaven, often involving vivid symbolism.

C. Revelation had a context in the first century and it has a context still in the future. Both the Double Fulfillment (fulfilled at the time and also at a future time) and Mountain Peak Principles (one can see multiple visions, but the distance between them isn't clear) of Prophecy are important.


Revelation 1:3: Blessed is the one who reads 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.

A. Anyone can enjoy the blessing.

B. In Greek the term “blessed” literally means “to make happy.” However, the Hebrew root word means “to find the right pathways in the face of false pathways.”


Revelation 1:4: John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,

A. The blessing comes from God the Father—Him who is, and who was, and who is to come (Revelation 1:4).

B. The blessing comes from God the Holy Spirit—and from the seven spirits before his throne (Isaiah 11:2) (Revelation 1:4).

C. The blessing comes from God the Son, Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:5-6).

Revelation 1:5-6: and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father-- to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

1. Jesus is identified by three titles: The Faithful Witness (Prophet); the Firstborn from the Dead (Priest); and the Ruler of the Kings of the Earth (King) (Revelation 1:5a).

2. The Book is dedicated in praise to Jesus Christ for His three-fold work on behalf of His followers: He loves us; He freed us from sin at the price of His blood; He has made us a kingdom of priests (Revelation 1:5b-6).


Revelation 1:7: Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.

A. When Christ comes in blazing glory, there will be two different responses (Revelation 1:7).

1. Some will welcome Him. Read Daniel 7:13-14.

2. Those who pierced Him (Zechariah 12:10) and those who never knew Him will mourn.

B. Eternity and permanent glory belongs to Jesus Christ Who here clearly identified Himself as God (Revelation 1:8).

Revelation 1:8: "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."


A. Those who read and apply the book of Revelation will be on the right path in life.

B. Two categories of mankind stand in stark contrast. Either your judgment is finished and behind you at the cross, or it is still looming ahead at the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ.

C. Jesus is inviting us to experience Him personally—in His omniscience (all knowledge), omnipresence (all presence) and omnipotence (all power).

There are those who anticipate this hour with delight. Then, there are those who mourn this hour. 

At His first coming the judgment on sin was taken care of on the cross. And those who believe have release from sin.

At his second coming the judgment is ahead—for those who do not believe. 

What does this mean to you? Your judgment is either behind you at the cross or still looming at the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ when He returns. 


J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings—fantasy has captured imagination of multiple generations.

How many of you have read the trilogy, seen either or both of the recent movies?

The marvelous land of Middle Earth, threatened by the power of a vile overlord, can only be saved by the daring deeds of a few noble hobbits.

Unknown to the hobbits, they are being helped on their quest by the true king of Middle Earth who is working undercover.  The hobbits know him as Strider, the humble Ranger who roves the land homeless and seemingly friendless.

In the great climactic battle at the end of the age, good is engulfed by evil until in one hair-raising last moment, Frodo the Hobbit performs a heroic deed—Darkness turns to Light. Aragon the King, Strider in disguise, is revealed in his entire splendor. 

What did I just describe? The book of Revelation. 

For those of you who are fans of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the reason it is so popular is that it is all God’s story. He knew that human history is really a battle between good and evil. He knew that the true king is working in seeming disguise, behind the scenes, who will one day be revealed in all His splendor.

Tolkien based everything on the Book of Revelation. Tolkien knew the true King of Kings. 

What John presented in reality, Tolkien presented in fiction.

John is not concerned with Middle Earth, he is concerned with Planet earth.

Old Testament Prophecy Books are:    

Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Hosea

Apocalyptic Books-Not normal prophecy are:

Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Revelation                                                   


Revelation 1:3: Blessed is the one who reads 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. 

Blessed is an overworked term; We use it at almost every meal.  Greek means “to make happy.”

Make the food happy; Maybe I don’t mean bless the food, maybe I mean, bless those of us who eat this meal together.

But, Hebrew root word ashar means “to find the right pathways in the face of false pathways.” It has to do with the discovery of the meaning of life in the midst of chaos. Give us an understanding of the meaning of life as we encounter so many false pathways.

Psalm 1: Bless us in this journey of life. Help us NOT to walk in the counsel of ungodly people, stand in the way of sinners, sit in the seat of scoffers.

The Beatitudes have the same implication: 

Blessed are merciful: Not happy, on the right path.

Blessed are you when you are persecuted for righteousness sake: not happy, on the right path.

The blessing is for everyone who reads, hears and heeds to the truths of the book. 

Illustration: Ray Stedman’s theory of eternity: When we step out of time and into eternity everything will be one big panorama. We will see the past; we will see the present; we will see the future—perfectly unfolded and it will all work together for good to those who love God—and it will make sense.

One and one time only does Christ pay for the sins of the world. No reason for the ongoing Mass—where Christ is brought back again and again to the cross—and to place a crucifix with Christ in his body on the cross. He is gone from the cross; this is message of Hebrews.

Illustration: Auschwitz was the first German concentration camp to become an extermination camp. Gas chambers were in constant use. Shower heads with 11 holes so gas could still get in.

Great influx of prisoners, also used firing squads.

One day commandant picked 10 men from one barracks for execution by firing squad. One was father of a large family. Fell to knees and begging for commandant to spare his life.

The commandant was unresponsive until the man standing next to the fallen one, a Roman Catholic priest named Maximillian Kolbe, stepped forward and offered his life in exchange for the man on his knees.

Surprisingly the commandant agreed to the arrangement. But instead of being led to the firing squad, Father Maximillian was thrown into a tiny damp cell where he suffered the agonizing death of starvation.

Today he is honored by millions because he died in place of one man.

Does that touch your heart? Jesus died an agonizing death not for one, or ten—but for all people.

That is why you should study, preach and teach the Book of Revelation.


Ask RogerDr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.

Publication date: April 14, 2016