Wednesday, September 23, 2015

God's Prophecy - Introduction to Revelation

Revelation is a book of prophecy.  God wants to bless us through prophecy and anchor us with a firm foundation.  “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 when God shows His truth to us.  God shows us what we must do and say.  He shows Himself through Jesus Christ.  It’s all about Jesus.  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.

Prophecy is from God.  God speaks through prophets.  True prophecy is not manipulated by man.  Bible prophecy is always fulfilled, because God is sovereign and controls history.  We can know when a prophecy is true when it doesn’t contradict scripture, when it keeps God in the center, and when it’s confirmed by events in history.  There are a lot of false prophets and prophecies today so how do we know it they are true?  “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive the elect…”  No one knows when Jesus will return. (Matthew 24:24-29).  So we need to be discerning, prayerful and ready when He does come.  We can know by false prophets by their fruit or their actions.  Their actions speak much louder than their words. 

The book of Daniel is a book of prophecy and talks about the End Times.  In Daniel 12:4 Daniel is told to close up and seal the words of the scroll or the book until the time of the end.  This was done because it could not be understood until more prophesied events were unfolded.  Then as events predicted would be unfolded, it would be clearer and we could understand the prophecy, the Book of Revelation.  Jesus said He told the future before it happened so when it does happen we will believe.  (John 13:19; 14:29).

There are many, many prophecies that have been fulfilled.  In Isaiah7:14 we see Isaiah’s prophecy of the birth of a Savior, Jesus by a virgin.  In Micah 5:2 we see Jesus birth place of Bethlehem foretold.  In Isaiah 53:3-6 we see that Jesus will be rejected and hated, but will still die for all mankind.

It is important to know that Bible records fulfilled prophecies, because it reveals God’s sovereignty.  It brings us comfort and hope.  It takes away our fears and builds our faith.

The purpose of Revelation is to reveal the full identity of Christ and to give warnings and hope and encouragement to believers.  It shows God’s servants things that will take place in the future.  It is for all of us, because we are all His servants.  It shows all the events leading up to the “Day of the Lord” referenced many times throughout the Bible.  Jesus speaks through John.  He says these things will take place soon.  It may be today, tomorrow or next week.  In God’s timing “…with the Lord a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day” - 2 Peter 3:8.  Whenever this happens, we can see He is giving us a warning to be watchful and expectant and be ready for what is to come.

The outline of Revelation is found in Rev. 1:19 -“Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall take place after these things.”  The events in Revelation were prophesied in the book of Daniel.  These prophesies have been and are being fulfilled and others will be fulfilled.  This vision of John will unfold in the following chapters.

God promises His blessings on us 7 times in Revelation.  Rev. 1:3 is considered to be the key verse in Revelation.  This is the only book that promises a blessing to those who read and hear its message.  The blessing is for everyone.  You however must do what it says.  It tells you what to expect and what to do when the wonderful as well as terrible times come.  During the last 7 years Satan will reign over the earth.  This is called the Great Tribulation.  We need to know all the things that will happen and how to handle all the events that follow those 7 years.

People today want to know the future in many ways.  They go to fortune tellers, use tarot cards, use crystals, read palms, read books on End Times, and even use astrology.  The only future we need to know is what the Bible tells us.  The Bible gives us many prophesies.  2 Peter 2:19-20 tells us true prophecy doesn’t originate with man, but that the prophets spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.  In John 13 Jesus says He is telling us the future before it happens so when it happens we will believe.  God is the only one to know and foretells the future.

Jesus through John writes to 7 churches.  These churches represent all the churches of God, now and throughout history.  He also writes to the angels of the 7 churches.  They are responsible for getting the message to the churches, just as we are responsible to get the message of Jesus to others.

Do you tell others about your Jesus?
Do you tell them how He has blessed your life?

Revelation tells of the “second coming” of Jesus.  “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.  In 1 Thess. 4:16-17 there is more about His return.  This is hope for all believers!  We will see throughout Revelation more and more details of His coming.

He gives warnings to the churches and the consequences that will come to those who continue in disobedience and unbelief.  Then Jesus will open 7 seals and judgments for mankind and earth.  Then there will be Jesus’ second coming and His 1,000 year reign called the Millennium with Satan being bound.  Then Satan will be released for a short time after which he and his followers will be destroyed in the Lake of Fire.  Then we will see the Great White Throne judgment, which is the final judgment and then there will be a new heaven, a new earth, and a New Jerusalem.  God is then finished with His work.

What do you need to do to make yourself ready?
Do you trust God's Word?
Who else is more worthy of your faith?

Revelation is divided into 3 sections:
Rev. 1 - the things John had seen in his vision of Christ. 
Rev. 2-3 - the things which are, what is now – the situations of the 7 churches. 
Rev. 4-5 -the things that are to take place in heaven after these things – the future events. 
Rev. 6-22 - the things which will take place on earth after these things – the future events.

God's people can follow Him with confidence, because He controls the future. 
Prophecy is God confiding in His people for their good.

“Behold, I am coming soon!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.” Rev. 22:7.

As you begin to study God’s Word, remember the truth is being revealed.  Do your part.  Study and allow God to do His part so He can guide you to His truth.  Always begin with prayer.

Now get ready to be amazed and enlightened by what you are going to read and learn.  Join me next week when we will study Revelation 1.  Hope to see you here.


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