Revelation 1:2 "who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
Yesterday after covering the occasion for its writing, as well as some practical points of consideration, we listed three main reasons for studying Revelation: Person of Christ is revealed, Prophecy of things to come and Promises of Blessing. Yesterday we dealt at length about the revelation of Christ Himself. In today's post I want us to consider a second reason why it is important for the Christian to study this book: Prophecy of things to come.
Prophecy of things to come. 1:2
Whenever people think of the Book of Revelation, they most often think of the book as being all about Prophecy. In most cases that notion is almost certainly true. We must remember that the Book of Revelation is partially historical, partially symbolic, partially descriptive and mostly prophetic. It is historical in that John wrote to seven literal churches. It is historical in that some of the events described do refer to the persecutions going on in John's day. Revelation is also descriptive in how it often interprets its own details. With that said, the bulk and primary thrust of Revelation has to do with what Christ is going to bring about at His second coming.
Prophecy in the Bible serves five functions: to warn, comfort, correct, to predict and to point to Jesus Christ. We won't take space today to trace the first four of those functions through the scripture, however the final function of prophecy stands as Prophecy's chief purpose: point to Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:1 states that the book was written "to show to His bond-servants, the things that must soon take place." Revelation 1:3 explicitly tells us that: "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy". In Revelation 1:2 we see reference to the "testimony of Jesus Christ", which according to Revelation 19:10 constitutes the spirit of prophecy.
According to Revelation 1:19, the key verse of the whole book, we read: "Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things." The first part about "the things which you have seen" covers Revelation 1. The second part about "the things which are" deals with Revelation 2-3 and 4-5. Then the final part of 1:19 concerning "things which will take place" will be unfolded in 4-5 and mainly in 6-22.
Most of the book tells you about the future to come. Isn't that important for us as Christians to know? It most certainly is! 1 Peter 3:15 exhorts Christians to give reason for the hope that is within them. How can you have hope to communicate today if you are unsure about Who holds tomorrow? Revelation solves that issue. Or how about the purifying function of prophecy, as stated in 1 John 3:3 as "the one who has this hope in Him is made pure, even as he is pure". Again reading, studying and hearing Revelation being preached or taught cleanses the mind and sanctifies the heart. Certainly what Jesus prayed in John 17:17 applies to Revelation's prophetic function: "Father sanctify them in your truth, for your Word is truth." So the Book of Revelation is crucial to the Christian because the Person of Christ is revealed and the Prophecies of things to come. More tomorrow.....