THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL (39)
THE BOOK OF REVELATION (1)
During the Sunday service Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh preached from the Book of Revelation Chapter 1. The Book of Revelation is the last Book of the Bible. It was written by the Apostle John about 95AD, during the reign of Caesar Domitian. Apostle John, an old man by now (he was in his 80s), was the bishop of the Church in Ephesus. Emperor Domitian arrested him and sent him to the Island of Patmos because of his preaching the Gospel saying that Caesar is not God, that Jesus is God! The Book of Revelation was given by God the Father, thru God the Son, by the Holy Spirit, who sent an Angel to John to tell him what to write. This Book is not the product of John’s imagination. It is a letter from God, to show the believers what will happen in the future and to encourage them during the present suffering and persecution. The main theme of the Book is to revel that Jesus Christ is Lord overall. He always wins and He can never lose. He is enough for all that concerns us! He alone is worthy to be worshipped! The Book of Revelation is not so much an evangelistic Book, written for the unbelievers to see how they will suffer if they do not repent. It is written primarily to the believers, to encourage them to stand firm and faithful to Jesus Christ their Lord, unto the end. Many Christians avoid the Book of Revelation because they do not understand the visions. Even if we do not understand everything, we should not avoid it. This is the only Book that has a blessing attached to it for reading it, believing it and obeying it. Therefore, read it!
The word Revelation in Greek is ‘Apocalypse’. It means an unveiling of something that is hidden. The Gospel is a revelation. The wrath of God is a revelation. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal something that is hidden. We need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and ears to see and to hear what the Spirit says to the churches and to us individually. Revelation is a prophetic book. Prophecy is a word coming directly from God to His people. The Word requires that God’s people receive it with faith and that then, obey it! The Prophets speak to men about present and future things, telling them to repent of unbelief, of rebellion, and change their lifestyles. Generally, the prophetic revelation says that any day, God will suddenly burst among men and does what only Him can do. He will save and reward His people and punish the unbelievers. The Book of Revelation will increase our faith by knowing that God is with us right now, He knows about our trials, and any moment He will come and makes all things right. The Books of Daniel and Ezekiel are also prophetic revelations. Thru the Book of Revelation, we understand that the world is a difficult and dangerous place. We also understand that Jesus Christ is totally in charge of everything, and He is the Lord of the Church. He is actively interested in everything concerning the church. He purifies it with His Word and defends it against all enemies. Jesus always wins! The Book of Revelation is a Book of worship and victory! We have a glimpse of the powerful worship in heaven! We can learn from it! Jesus said that we should pray like this: “Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt 6:9, 10)
THE REVELATION OF THE GOSPEL
The Book of Revelation shows the Gospel of Christ Crucified and Resurrected in a new light. The Lamb upon the throne looks like He was slain but now He roars like a lion. Jesus Christ says about Himself: I am the First and the Last. “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Rev 1:18). This is the Gospel! When He was on earth, Jesus started His ministry by preaching His Gospel. “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mk 1:14, 15). Our Lord preached His Gospel before He died and ascended. In the Book of Revelation, He preaches the same Gospel, but seen from the point of fulfilled prophesy and total victory. We need faith to believe in the Gospel. We need to repent of unbelief concerning the Gospel.
In this book John describes himself not as an apostle, but as ‘His servant John’ (Rev 1:1). He was an old man now. He was humble. He has served Jesus for more than sixty years. But here we see that he is still learning how to serve Jesus. The work to serve Jesus is not done on earth until our last breath. The angel dictated to him the seven letters to the seven churches. I am sure he was happy that his brethren in Ephesus will receive encouragement thru one of the letters. He was far from them, but he prayed for them. The rest of the book of Revelation is not a direct dictation from the angel. John used his words to describe the visions he had received. But let us not forget, Revelation is the Word of God. If the Bible ended with the book of Jude, it could have been incomplete. Revelation adds something more to us, the glory of the Church of Jesus Christ!
Jesus is ‘the ruler over the kings of the earth’. The wicked Emperor Domitian was the king who sent John to prison on the Island of Patmos. But according to the Book of Revelation, Jesus is in charge of John, and not Domitian. This is a great encouragement to all believers who suffer in this world and are persecuted. I was told that for the Chinese brethren who suffer persecution from the Communist regime, their favorite Book in the Bible is Revelation. Halleluiah! As for Domitian, he was a good king as a young man. But after he condemned John, he became a troubled ‘mad’ man. He was always anxious about his life. He killed anyone who he suspected of betrayal. At last, he was killed in a coup arranged by his friends and with the help of his wife. Domitian had everything he wanted on earth. But he wanted to be God. That was his downfall. What a sad story!
The Lord Jesus Christ is described as “the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth” (Rev 1:5). Jesus is the faithful Witness. Whatever He says, it is the truth! The Gospel is the Truth! Jesus told His disciples while He was still on earth that He will be killed and on the third day, He will rise from the dead. It happened as He said it! Jesus is ‘the firstborn from the dead.’ He has foretold His death and resurrection. From heaven, by the same power of resurrection, He sends you the greetings of Grace and Peace! More Favor and more peace to you on earth! “Jesus who died, is now glorified, He is King of all kings!” Jesus is the Lord! Worship the Lord!