One book to go with our journey through the Bible this year. And this one you will be blessed just by reading aloud! And you will be blessed by hearing it read aloud. That’s one reason why in 2021 our journey through the New Testament will be an audio one, with folks recording their readings and a prayer. Looking forward to it.
People are often a bit scared of Revelation as it is so symbolic, but the essence of the book is Jesus wins! He is the Alpha and Omega – the first and last (letters of the Greek Alphabet). It’s all about Jesus.
There are many different ways people try to understand Revelation. Some take a wooden literalistic view and try to interpret everything literally – so plagues of locusts become attack helicopters and so on. Trouble with that is that it gets silly pretty quickly and you ending up interpreting Revelation in the light of world events – so some of the popular proponents of that kind of view end up editing and reissuing their books continually.
It is symbolic! And as you read the end seems to come multiple times – so I understand the book the way Vern Poythress does in “The Returning King” – the best easy to understand commentary on the book as progressive parallelism – the events aren’t chronological – they are accounts of the time leading from the 1st Coming of Christ to the 2nd from different perspectives each one crescendoing in a bigger and bigger way – progressively parallel accounts.
The book of Revelation addresses the churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea, churches which were located on a major Roman road so the letter carrier would travel in the same order that the letters were dictated.
John greets these seven churches in Asia, on behalf of God (‘him who is and who was and who is to come'), the Holy Spirit (‘the seven spirits who are before his throne' – a reference to the seven aspects of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Isaiah 11:2) and Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness (the Greek word translates that as martyr), the most important person among those who have been or ever will be resurrected and the one who will rule forever.
In verses 5b-6, we are reminded that Jesus loves us, cleansed us from our sins by his blood on the cross, gave us royal status and authority and appointed us God's priests on earth to bring men and women closer to him. We give Jesus glory and leadership of our lives!
Then John begins to see a vision of Jesus and what he has to say to the seven churches.
See that Jesus Christ is Sovereign over all and especially coronavirus!