January 11 2022
Today, Tuesday January 11
Assurance for the Future 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 want to summarize the basic characteristics of the Book of Revelation:
It is a Christ-centered book. To be sure, all Scripture speaks of the Savior; but the Book of Revelation especially magnifies the greatness and glory of Jesus Christ. The book is, after all, the revelation of Jesus Christ and not simply the revelation of future events.
It is an "open" book. John was told not to seal the book (Rev. 22:10) because God's people need the message it contains. Revelation can be understood, despite the fact that it contains mysteries that may never be comprehended until we meet at the throne of God.
It is a book filled with symbols. Biblical symbols are timeless in their message and limitless in their content. For instance, the symbol of "Babylon" originates in Genesis 10-11, and its meaning grows as you trace it through Scripture, climaxing with Revelation 17-18. The same is true of the symbols of "the Lamb" and "the bride." It is exciting to seek to penetrate deeper into the rich meanings that are conveyed by these symbols.
It is a book of prophecy. This is definitely stated in Revelation 1:3; 22:7, 10, 18-19; 10:11. The letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor dealt with immediate needs in those assemblies, needs that are still with us in churches today; but the rest of the book is devoted almost entirely to prophetic revelations. It was by seeing the victorious Christ presented that the persecuted Christians found encouragement for their difficult task of witnessing. When you have assurance for the future, you have stability in the present. John himself was suffering under the hand of Rome (Rev. 1:9), so the book was born out of affliction.
It is a book with a blessing. We have already noted the promise in Revelation 1:3, as well as the six other "beatitudes" scattered throughout the book. It is not enough simply to hear (or read) the book; we must respond to its message from the heart. We must take the message personally and say a believing "Amen!" to what it says. (Note the many "Amens" in the book: Rev. 1:6-7, 18; 3:14; 5:14; 7:12; 19:4; 22:20-21.)
It is a relevant book. What John wrote about would "shortly come to pass" (Rev. 1:1) because "the time is at hand" (Rev. 1:3). (Note also Rev. 22:7, 10, 12, 20.) The word shortly does not mean "soon" or "immediately," but "quickly, swiftly." God does not measure time as we do (2 Peter 3:1-10). No one knows when our Lord shall return; but when He begins to open the seals of the scroll (Rev. 6:1), events will occur with speed and without interruption.
It is a majestic book. Revelation is the book of "the throne," for the word throne is found forty-six times throughout. This book magnifies the sovereignty of God. Christ is presented in His glory and dominion!
It is a universal book. John saw nations and peoples (Rev. 10:11; 11:9; 17:15) as part of God's program. He also saw the throne room of heaven and heard voices from the ends of the universe!
It is a climactic book. Revelation is the climax of the Bible. All that began in Genesis will be completed and fulfilled in keeping with God's sovereign will. He is "Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending" (Rev. 1:8). What God starts, He finishes!
But before visiting the throne room of heaven (Revelation 4-22), we must pause to listen to "the Man among the lampstands" as He reveals the personal needs in our churches and in our own hearts. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches!" (Revelation 1-3)