December 12 2021
Today, Sunday December 12
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ”
Revelation 1:1-3 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
Today we begin a new study on the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation. In 2016 the Lord laid on my heart to preach through the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation from the pulpit of Rainbow Forest Baptist Church. After a few introductory messages in January 2017, on Sunday February 5, 2017, I started the series preaching and teaching from Genesis 1:1. On my last Sunday, August 29, 2021, as senior pastor of RFBC, we finished with the book of 2 Peter. Then over the last several months on our Pastor Chats we have studied from 1 John through Jude. Now, by the grace of God, we will complete what we started five years as we go through this amazing and interesting Book of Revelation!
It is my goal not to get into so much detail that we lose the intent and impact of the messages and prophesies of this book. Of course there is a tremendous amount of differences in how different scholars and denominations interpret the contents of Revelation. We won’t try to describe all the different views that others take but will do our best to share and explain what I have learn myself in studying this book over the last fifty years.
It must be noted that I have always taken, what I call to be, a literalist view of the book. I realize that John used much symbolism in the book in describing these end time events. And we can disagree on exactly what each symbol means, but overall, I believe to properly understand these prophesies we must approach them literally and believe that they are to still be fulfilled in the future.
Also, as we study prophesy in the Bible, it is obvious to me, that God specifically deals with three different groups of people. Certain prophesies should only be interpreted to apply to that specific group in the context of that passage. I believe it will really help us if we keep in mind that these three groups are: Israel, the Church and the Gentile nations.
As we are introduced to the book in the first three verses we are told that God the Father gave the contents of the book to Christ, who gave it to His angel to give to the Apostle John. "His angel" may be translated "His messenger," since the Gk. word aggelos (angel) means "messenger" (Revelation 22:16). "Signified" indicates that the book uses signs or symbols to convey spiritual truth.
John actually saw the contents of the book unfold before his eyes. Physically, he was on the isle of Patmos (1:9), but God transported him to heaven (4:1), to the wilderness (17:3), and to a mountain (21:10) that he might witness these events and record them for us.
I’m looking forward to reading and studying this book with you specially because there is a special blessing for us as we read this book aloud and hear and listen to it with attentive hearts. “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (v. 3). But we must also note that Revelation is not a book to study with idle curiosity; these words must be "kept," that is, obeyed and practiced.
It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will open our eyes to receive both the words and blessings that will come from this study!