December 14 2021
Today, Tuesday December 14
Revelation Comes out of Suffering
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.”
Revelation chapter one is a wonderful introduction to the whole book. From it we learn that it is a revelation or an unveiling of Jesus Christ and things to come in the future (Vs. 1, 19). We are told that John the Apostle wrote this revelation while he was prisoner of Rome exiled on the island of Patmos. “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Revelation 1:9)
Notice that John did not say that he was exiled to suffer persecution and separation from his friends and family, but that he was there for the purpose of receiving the word of God and giving a testimony, a witness, and an unveiling of Jesus Christ. Our greatest witness for the Lord to the world around us will most often be in our times of tribulation and suffering!
John wrote Revelation about A.D. 95, during the reign of the Roman emperor Titus Flavius Domitian. The emperor had demanded that he be worshiped as "Lord and God," and the refusal of the Christians to obey his edict led to severe persecution. Tradition says that it was Domitian who sent John to the Isle of Patmos, a rocky island ten miles long and six miles wide in the Aegean Sea. It was a Roman penal colony off the coast of Asia Minor. It was here in this isolated spot that John received the visions that make up Revelation.
Revelation 1:19 is the key verse for the book which also gives us the outline for it: “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” The Book of Revelation is the only book in the Bible that contains an inspired outline of the contents. "The things which you have seen" refers to the vision in Revelation 1 where John saw the glorified Christ as King-Priest.
"The things which are" refers to Revelation 2-3, where John received the special messages to the seven churches of Asia Minor. The seven churches reveal the condition of God's people and also describes the seven stages of church history which we will discuss later.
"The things which shall take place after this" covers the events described in Revelation 4-22. What John heard in Revelation 4:1 substantiates this interpretation where John heard a voice from heaven calling him to come up. We will see later how we believe that this signifies the rapture of the church before the tribulation.
John's prophecy is primarily the revelation of Jesus Christ, not the revelation of future events. You must not divorce the Person from the prophecy, for without the Person there could be no fulfillment of the prophecy. Dr. Merrill Tenney wrote in his commentary on Revelation: "Jesus is the chief Subject of the book. In Revelation 1-3, Christ is seen as the exalted Priest-King ministering to the churches. In Revelation 4-5, He is seen in heaven as the glorified Lamb of God, reigning on the throne. In Revelation 6-18, Christ is the Judge of all the earth; and in Revelation 19, He returns to earth as the conquering King of kings. The book closes with the heavenly Bridegroom ushering His bride, the church, into the glorious heavenly city.”
I trust that these overviews today of the entire book of Revelation will motivate you to continue this study with me over the next several months. But most of all that we will get to know our Savior Jesus Christ in a more intimate and personal way! And that we will anticipate His soon coming for us more than ever!
Remember our greatest revelation of Jesus Christ will no doubt come out of our greatest suffering!