Week Twenty Six - Day Two
The book of Revelation has been the subject of more variety in interpretation than perhaps any book ever written. There are four things that should be kept in mind when reading it. Firstly, the type of literature, apocalyptic, does not really exist anymore. In other words, John is not simply recording bizarre images that he has seen in an ultra strange vision. There are other books contemporary to Revelation that have similar style and feel. The images are put together in a particular way to convey profound truths. John is using a well-known writing style to communicate this truth.
Secondly, the profound truth being conveyed here is that Christ will overcome! In the end, he will be victorious over every adversary and the whole universe will experience a new kind of integrity and glory in the proper worship of its creator.
Thirdly, we should be advised not to base our theology entirely on this book. It must be studied carefully and read with humility and caution.
Finally, the book was originally written to seven churches. John’s introduction includes a word to these churches. This word is as timely today as it was when John first wrote it. This introduction will be the subject of our reading this week.
1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud 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.
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen.
7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
BEFORE YOU START YOUR DAY
- 1.Survey the titles given to Jesus in verses 5 and 6. What is John telling us with each of these titles? Also survey the way he speaks about God.
- 2.What titles would you give Jesus in your life? What aspects of your relationship with him are important to you?
- 3.John himself was suffering because of his testimony. His readers were most likely suffering persecution as well. What would have been important to hear under these conditions?
- 4.Dedicate your day to God.
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