Friday, June 7, 2013

The Divine drive-train in Revelation

Revelation 1:1-3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

The Drive-train of Divine communication

Every car on the road is able to move forward because of a combination of working parts that we call "a drive-train".   In a drive-train you have the motor that is the source of power, the transmission that receives and channels the power, a drive shaft that communicates the channeled power to the wheels and axles, with the wheels and axles moving the car in a given direction.  Whenever you read the introduction to the Book of Revelation (1:1-3), you are seeing God's drive-train of divine communication.  

1. Revelation from God,  the Power source in the Divine drive-train.  
As we said earlier, in a car's drive-train you begin with the power plant, the engine.  It is the part that normally is unseen, and yet without it, nothing else would happen. God makes known, uncovers, unveils what would had been veiled, covered and unknown to man. (1 Corinthians 2:9-13)  John writes in Revelation 1:1 "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants".  Jesus Christ then is both the subject Divine Revelation and the chief Object or Focus of Revelation. The Holy Spirit is the One who is doing the revealing or unveiling, as other scriptures testify. (John 16:12-15; 2 Peter 1:21)  God the Father is unseen, communicating His thoughts with the Holy Spirit whose aim is to point to Jesus Christ who shares in the same Divine nature as the Father and the Spirit.

2. Inspiration is the transmission that channeled God's thoughts into written words.  

Just as a transmission in a car functions to take the raw power of the motor and channel it into purposeful and communicated energy, the scriptures are the Spirit's way of taking Divine thoughts and turning them into words.  The secondary author of Revelation is the Apostle John, with the Holy Spirit being the Primary author.  Throughout scripture there are roughly 40 other such "secondary authors", with the Holy Spirit being the Chief One.  The Holy Spirit testified in Amos 3:7 that God in the Old Testament did not make His will known save through the prophets.  

John of course would by divine inspiration write the book of Revelation.  This unique act of grace is where God the Holy Spirit enabled men who do err to produce writings that are without error (inerrant) and of which cannot err (infallible).  The Apostle John was to write by Divine inspiration a perfect account of the things which he saw, which are and which are to come. (Revelation 1:19)  The 27 books of the New Testament and the 39 Books of the Old Testament are not mere witnesses to Divine Revelation, nor do they merely contain the words of God - rather the 66 books are the very words of God in written form.  Divine inspiration assumes inerrancy and infallibility in the original manuscripts, being that such documents were divinely inspired by God who cannot err nor lead astray. (Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2)  Furthermore, this inerrant and infallible authority carries on down through the copies and translations that have faithfully communicated the doctrines, truth and meaning of the words inspired by the Holy Ghost through the Apostles and Prophets. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21)  Quite literally, the English Bible sitting here on my lap is the very Word of God, His Divine library, His mind in written form, needing to be preached, heard and heeded. 

3. Public Reading/Preaching of the Scriptures is the drive-shaft that communicates God's inspired, revealed word to God's people

In a car, the drive-shaft serves to communicate the channeled power of the transmission to the wheels and axles.  We could say that the drive-shaft is the "means" through which the powerful combination of the motor and transmission is communicated meaningfully to the wheels.  When The Lord says to John "blessed is he who reads", the phrase in the original is not merely referring to private reading of the book from beginning to end - rather the Greek word translated "reading" speaks of the public reading and proclamation of the inspired and inerrant scriptures.  Paul uses this same word in two texts that speak of the duty of preachers and the church to promote the preaching of God's word. (2 Corinthians 3:14-18; 1 Timothy 4:13-16).  Though some people may think preaching is unnecessary and even undesired in God's design of the church, nevertheless God has ordained through the foolishness of preaching to bring sinners to salvation and to show the saints the glory of Christ. (Romans 10:8-10, 14-15; 1 Corinthians 1:21)  

4. The hearers of God-centered preaching are to be the axles and wheels that carry forth in obedience and worship
We have witnessed the power source - God's revelation.  We have seen the only way in which revelation was to be channeled into words - the inspired scriptures (The Bible).  We have even witnessed God's divinely ordained means of transferring the scriptures to His saints and to sinners - preaching. Now we see John writes these words in Revelation 1:3 "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near."  As the Book of Revelation, along with the other 65 books were revealed and inspired, they were meant to be explained and exhorted to hearers by way of preaching.  However these same scriptures must in turn be heard and heeded.  

Just as a car is designed to move forward or backwards, depending upon what directions are given by the transmission and clearly communicated by the drive-shaft, so it is with obedience and worship stemming from the hearing of the preached word. Only when the tires and axle assembly are "hearing and heeding" so-to-speak can there then be forward movement.  John is saying that in order for us to experience more of God's power and presence in our lives ("blessing"), we need to be a people who are not only "hearing the word" but "heeding the word".  

The Same One who revealed and inspired the scriptures is the Same Holy Spirit who is needed to enable the preaching of them.  Furthermore, the Spirit's work is still required in order for sinners to believe and repent and for the saints to hear and heed what is being preached. (James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; Ephesians 5:18) Would you and I today be a people who take to heart John's message in the Book of Revelation.  If we will but hear and heed its words (as well as by extension the whole Bible), we will be a more blessed and effective people for His glory. (Joshua 1:8; Romans 12:1-2)