“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.” (Rev 1:1)
John starts his prologue to the book of Revelation with a statement of origin and purpose. It is given to us from God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who sent His angel to reveal it to His servant John, who in turn was to relay it to the church in a letter. The word Revelation (Greek: Apokalypsis) means to reveal/unveil/uncover. So the purpose is to make known to us, His servants, “the things that must soon take place.” What an awesome, loving God we serve, that He would take time to reveal to us the way redemption history will unfold. He did this to encourage us to persevere in trials, knowing that our victory is certain. Christ, the King of King and Lord of Lords, will conquer every foe and usher in the new heavens and new earth.
Many of us shy away from the book of Revelation because we don’t quite understand the meaning of the visions that John is writing about, or the way the book is structured; yet we read this: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (1:3). This tells us that the book was not just written for the prophecy experts, but for you and me to be blessed in reading it and in heeding its commands/exhortations. We may not fully understand the meaning of the various symbolic representations, but the message of the book is clear. Christ will return and subdue all His enemies; God will judge the world in righteousness through Christ; Satan and all his followers will be cast into the lake of fire; God’s people will be vindicated and rewarded with eternal life in the new heavens and new earth.
Knowing that we are on the winning side will enable us to live in victory and not defeat, even when it seems that evil is prevailing in every sector of our society. We must continually remember that in His death and resurrection, Christ has conquered Satan, sin, and death; and He has already inaugurated His spiritual Kingdom in the hearts of His people by the outpouring of His Spirit. It is only a matter of time before He returns and every knee will bow and every tongue confess Him to be Lord.
As one commentator put it: D-Day has already happened, we are just waiting for V-Day.
There are many other practical implications that we hope to draw out as we go through the book.
Please pray that our study in the book would be a means of blessing, as the Lord promised; and that the different eschatological views in our congregation will not hinder us from exploring the text and receiving the blessing.