Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Revelation 1

 The book of Revelation is written by the John.  Who was John?  He was a faithful friend and disciple of Jesus.  He was a servant of Jesus.  He wrote 5 books of the Bible – John, 1 & 2 & 3 John, and Revelation.  He suffered because of his beliefs and his boldness in speaking of Jesus Christ.  He was exiled on the island of Patmos and left there to die.  There on Patmos he had a vision of Christ and was told to write the book of Revelation.  He is an eye witness to these things told in Revelation.  This book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Revelation is when God shows His truth to us.  In Revelation God shows us what we must do and say.  He shows Himself through Jesus Christ.  It’s all about Jesus.  The Bible is full of God’s prophecy.  It reveals His redemptive story and its final chapter, Revelation.  This book describes the glorious fulfillment of God’s eternal plan.  It tells us about the future climax of world history with God’s final judgment.  He will judge those who don’t believe in Him.  For those who do believe it is a book of joy.

Revelation is apocalyptic literature, full of symbolism.  Each image represents something literal.  People interpret it differently so we are focusing on the themes of the book.

Themes in Revelation:
Fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan. 
Jesus is coming soon, which gives us hope.
We are not to be afraid, but stay faithful.
Satan will try to accuse us before God, but Christ defeats him.
God will create a New Heaven and a New Earth.

Revelation reveals that John and other fellow Christians suffered, but patiently endured.  They worked hard for God and suffered many hardships, but persevered through and were faithful.  Some lived in poverty, yet they were rich.  There are similarities in the church today.  Christians are suffering around the world.  There is persecution and even death because of their beliefs.  Many have lost their first love like the church in Ephesus.

Attributes of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are revealed:
God is holy.  He is sovereign.  He is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come.  He is to be worshiped and will be continually worshiped in Heaven by all, because He is creator of all things. 
Jesus is the only one worthy to open the scroll because He was slain.  The Holy Spirit speaks to all who will hear Him.  All make up the Trinity.  Each is an entity, but are the same.

Revelation 1 – The Things You Have Seen

The Revelation begins from God to Jesus to His angel to John and then to us.  John is to tell all he saw and be a testimony of Jesus Christ.  The Revelation is that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.  It is the Revelation of God’s power and glory.  “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”. - Rev. 1:3.  Revelation is the only book in the Bible that says you will be blessed when you hear, read, and put in practice what it says. 

I hope this verse convinces you to read this book.  Don’t be afraid that you won’t understand, because none of us completely understand it all and never will until we are in heaven.  God will reveal to you exactly what you need to know.

The early church read the entire book of Revelation each time them met.  The reader and the congregation that read and hear and heed the teaching taught here will be blessed.  In other words your life will be changed.  You will live your life differently.  You will realize the collision course the world is on and the terrible times that are coming for those who are not saved.  You will have a clearer picture of God’s plan for the saved and the unsaved.  You will know “the end of the story”.  Keep these things in your mind and remember them.  You will know the truth when trials and temptations come.

“The time is near” is true more so for us today than people thousands of years ago.  We are closer to the end.  The rapture of the church is imminent.  We don’t know when, because God’s timing is different from ours.  It may be in a 100 years or it may be tomorrow.  We must know the truth and be ready.  Are you ready?

John began by writing to the 7 churches in Asia that existed at that time.  7 actually signifies completeness in the Bible.  He was actually writing to all the churches and even to the churches today.  You will see where they are doing what God expects and where they are falling short.  Hopefully we will see where we too are not living up to God’s standards.

He started by giving grace and peace from Jesus Himself, which is comforting because in Revelation we will see a lot of judgments, earthquakes, and destruction of the earth and its people.  He also mentioned the 7 spirits before His throne.  What are these 7 spirits?   “And the Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” Isaiah. 11:2.  These spirits of God are the Holy Spirit in His completeness.  Jesus is described as being a faithful witness, the first born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. 

“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.”Rev. 1:7.  John praised Jesus and told of His return when He will come in the clouds and that every eye will see His returning.  Everyone will mourn over Him.  It will be a day of judgment when Jesus will pour out His wrath on the earth.  The Lord said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega… who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”Rev. 1:8.  God declares that He existed in the beginning, now and at the end.  I love this verse!

How will you be ready when Jesus returns?

John was exiled on the island of Patmos because of His testimony of Jesus.  John was filled with the Spirit and heard a voice like a trumpet which told him to, “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches:  to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”  - Rev. 1:11. 

John saw Jesus and described His hair, eyes, feet, voice, hand, mouth, and face.  Jesus was walking in the middle of the 7 lampstands.  The 7 lampstands represent the 7 churches.  They are lamps that hold the light of Christ.  They must show His light to the world.  Jesus was holding 7 stars in His right hand, which are the angels of the 7 churches. (Rev. 1:20)  These angels are probably angels who watched over the churches.  Some believe these stars are the pastors of the churches who lead and watch over the people.

John was in awe of Jesus.  Can you image?  How wonderful it will be when we see Him for the first time?  John fell to his feet in worship of Jesus.  Jesus told him not to be afraid.  He was the First and the Last, the Living One, was dead and now alive for ever and ever, and that He held the keys of death and Hades. (Rev. 1:17-18)  Having the keys to death and Hades means He has the power over them.  He proved that because He rose from the dead.  John was told to write down everything and not leave anything out.  “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.”Rev. 1:19.  This is the key verse that unlocks the door to the entire outline of the book.

What will you do when you see Jesus?
Will you be afraid or will you be in awe of Him?
How are you ready to meet Him?
Will your life be pleasing to Him?

Next week we will study Revelation 2 – the churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, and Thyatira.  Hope to see you here.


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