These are words from the book of Revelation. I have been studying Revelation for the last couple of months, while teaching the adult Sunday School class at my church. One can be overwhelmed by the various interpretations of all the symbols and visions. But this could be a trick of the enemy to keep believers from this unique book. I hold unto the promise in 1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”
The cry of my heart for some time has been, “Lord, what are you saying to the prophets.” My contention is that the days ahead will be darker for followers of Jesus. This was certainly true for the young church in the first century during the reign of the mighty Roman Empire.
But we know this: 1) We have the word of truth in Scripture, 2) Jesus is Lord over history 3) We reign with Jesus in his kingdom and 4) God speaks to his people through the prophets. The Revelation tells us not to be afraid. “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades” (Rev. 1:18).
The first century followers of Jesus eagerly awaited for the return of Jesus. They firmly believed the reign of Christ on the earth was more certain the the victory of evil. The book is meant to give hope to the followers of Jesus. One author observed, “Revelation touches at the point of our despair, our world-weariness, our future shock, our fear of persecution, our collaboration with an anti-Christ society. It is quite possibly the most relevant book of the Bible for this moment in history.”
Here are four reasons why we should be acquainted with the message of Revelation. First, We learn how to live in a post-Christian culture. The small churches in Asia Minor faced external persecution from a hostile culture that had a seductive influence. The churches had to also combat lethargy in its midst. We too, can be attracted to the culture, tempted by its life-style and thinking.
Secondly, Revelation unmasks the powers of darkness. It opens the curtain so we can see what is taking place in the spiritual realm, alerting us as to how the powers of darkness tempt us and fight against us. Thirdly, we can celebrate the victory of Jesus, as Lord and King. The wonderful worship in Revelation declares the victory obtained for us through the blood of Jesus (5:9). We are able to see ourselves as overcomers in Jesus, even though it might not seem that way at times.
Fourthly, Revelation helps us to see beyond this world. Revelation give us a wonderful vision of the new heaven and new earth. Because we tend to easily focused on the “here and now,” we need to embrace the compelling vision of our final home and destination prepared for us by Jesus Fifthly, we gain the assurance of God’s sovereign control. Revelation helps us to understand that God is still in control of a world that seems to be spinning out of control.
So do your self a favor. Read the Revelation of Jesus. Ask God for guidance and discernment. One of the promises of Revelation should be an encouragement to to you. “Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of this prophecy in this book” (Rev 22:7).