Friday, July 6, 2018
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, 2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 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.
In today's post we want to suggest four reasons why it is valuable to study the Book of Revelation. The Apostle John introduces his series of visions with a formal introduction in Revelation 1:1-8. It is in that introduction that we discover four reasons for studying the Book of Revelation and Bible prophecy in general. Notice if you will the first reason....
1. Re-emphasizes Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:1, 4-6
In Revelation 1, we find nearly 40 titles ascribed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Revelation is all about Jesus! A brief review of a few verses in this opening section will underscore this point.
A. Revelation 1:1 ”Jesus”, as touching the manhood and ”Christ”, as touching His office as Israel’s Messiah, the chosen One”. The latter part of Revelation 1 highlights Christ in His majestic deity.
B. Revelation 1:5 “faithful witness”, points us to His Real Deity. He speaks what He sees. As a Truly Divine Person, only the Son could directly behold the Person of the Father, which no mere creature (angel or human) as ever beheld. We can cross reference John 1:18, which notes: “No one has seen God, save the only begotten”. Revelation 1:5 also mentions additional titles of Jesus. We find Him described as “The Firstborn”, meaning: Raised, triumphed over death. The third title of Jesus in Revelation 1:5 is: “Ruler of Kings”, which points to His Royal ascension. Fourthly, we discover that Jesus “loves us”, by way of His rich self-sacrifice. In 1 John 4:19 we are reminded: "we love Him because He first loved us". Lastly in Revelation 1:5, we read of how Christ “Released Us”.
C. In Revelation 1:6 we find out that Christ came and “made us to be a kingdom”. This speaks of the believer's rich inheritance in Christ, a fond theme found elsewhere in the New Testament (see Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:1-6; 1 Peter 2:9-10).
This re-emphasis of Jesus Christ explains why John broke into doxology at the end of Revelation 1:6, wherein he writes:
"to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen."
So, studying the Book of Revelation inclines us to re-emphasize Jesus Christ, but now notice the second reason....
2. Revives godly living. Revelation 1:2-3
Whenever my wife and I courted, I made many trips to go see her. At the beginning of our relationship, I found my interest in my own cleanliness heightened. Whenever we read the Book of Revelation, its tone and contents incline us to desire godly living. A quick review of Revelation 1:1-3 will bear out this point.
A. In Revelation 1:2, John's use of the word "testified" urges us to give ourselves to the book.
B. In Revelation 1:3a, we find further exhortations leading us to give ourselves to obey the book.
C. Lastly, in Revelation 1:3b, we discover the urgency to give ourselves to expect the Christ of the book.
The Apostle John, the author of Revelation, combines the need for godly living with the truths of Christ's second coming elsewhere in his writings. For instance, we read in 1 John 3:2-3 -
"Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure."
So, studying Revelation and Bible prophecy re-emphasizes Jesus Christ and revives godly living. Notice the third reason for taking the time to study this Book of the Bible...
3. Re-energizes evangelism. Revelation 1:7
Every year when my children are getting ready to finish school, I notice and increase in their energy. Why? Because they know that year is almost done. Biblical prophecy or eschatology serves emphasis not only to believers, but unbelievers. Some observations from Revelation 1:7 and other New Testament verses will demonstrate this truth.
A. The Mission almost complete.
John writes in Revelation 1:7 - “Behold, He is coming…”. Jesus notes in Matthew 24:14
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come."
B. The Message is urgent.
We read again in Revelation 1:7 - “Every eye will see Him….”. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 "For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night."
C. Make your choice, now!
John's closing phrase in verse seven communicates the definiteness of the second coming of Christ and thus the need to make a choice for Him: “So it is to be. Amen”.
The urgency of sharing Christ with the unconverted is dependent upon our keeping in mind the brevity of time. In other words: time is short! We've seen then that the following reasons for studying Bible prophecy in general and Revelation in particular are as follows: re-emphasizes Jesus Christ; revives godly living and re-energizes evangelism. Now lets consider one last reason....
4. Re-awakens us to His 2nd coming. Revelation 1:8
I’m amazed at how early Christmas shopping begins. People are ready! One will see or here the following: "Christmas in June" or "Door-buster sales!" The alertness of people to these sorts of events is amazing, considering that their efforts are six-months before Christmas. We need to exercise a much greater anticipation when it comes to Christ's return. John writes in Revelation 1:8 -
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
The Apostle Paul urges us in
Philippians 3:20-21 -
"For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; 21 who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself."
As one final thought, I often think of how I need to remind myself in a given week to pray for the return of Jesus. The short little one-word prayer in 1 Corinthians 16:22, "maranatha", literally means: "come Lord". As we give of ourselves to studying Bible prophecy in general and the Book of Revelation in particular, let us recall the four reasons we discovered in today's post as to why we ought to pursue such a project:
1. Re-emphasizes Jesus Christ
2. Revives us for godly living
3. Re-energizes evangelism
4. Re-awakens us to His second coming