I felt that I needed to dive into the Revelation once again. I think that the pressing need for me has everything to do with our rapidly changing global environment; that, and the fact that so many of the video bloggers are seeing the same thing, I see – Jesus is just moments away from gathering the church to Himself.
The Revelation spells out several things, but one of the dominant messages is that God is about to pour out His wrath upon the nations and the Jews.
Notice how there is no church involved in that wrath, and that migration of the church from the earth is where I want to start this study.
It is not that I feel the backgrounds of the churches are not essential, but they have been, in my book, beaten to death. All I need to say is this, if you have ears to hear, then hear this, we are living in the age of the Laodicean church, and as such, we have been spewed out of His mouth.
‘So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. (Revelation 3:16 NASB)
This lack of consistent stance or position on scripture, in our churches today, is deplorable and will only worsen. We, as a nation, are done.
Considerations as you dive into the Revelation.
Most important and vital to your understanding of the Revelation is found in chapter one, verse one.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, (Revelation 1:1 NASB)
Take that verse apart, and you get this.
- It is the Revelation (the apokalupsis – the uncovering, unveiling, or, if you will, the disclosure) of Jesus Christ.
Is there anything about those three words that indicate that this message is coded and not meant to be understood? And yet, to many, it does seem like it is coded and anything but understandable. I mention this because one of my pastors preached that very concept.
- which God gave Him.
Since I know that this was all revealed to John in a vision, I might assume that the “Him” could be John, it is not. The NirV puts it this way, “This is the revelation that God gave to Jesus Christ.” Now, why would Jesus not know precisely what the Father was doing? What I just asked is a rhetorical question because, except for one piece of information (the exact timing of the rapture of the church,) the Father has held nothing back from the Son. The entirety of the message was then given to John and he has given it to the churches. [If you do not understand, I am trying to provide you with some clues that might help your understanding.]
Operating on the understanding that this phrase “which God gave Him,” is referring to the Apostle John, it is important to know that John no advantage over us excluding one thing, he was able to physically feel the love and intimacy of and with Jesus Christ. John got to witness the character of God. But keep in mind that John, almost exclusively, lived off of oral history and presentations of the Old Testament that were given from the Synagogue. We can understand this, as there was very little that was written, and the information that was was written on scrolls made of parchment or skin.
- and communicated it by His angel
I want to tell you that this angel is Jesus, but I am not so sure. There is a reasonable assertion, referred to as a Christophany, where Jesus showed himself to humans before His birth, but it was described as the Angel of the Lord. There are 49 verses throughout the Old Testament to back this up. One of the first comes from Genesis 16:7, where the angel of the Lord finds Hagar by a fountain in the wilderness. Here, angel is the Hebrew word malak. The Word Study Dictionary tells us that it is “a masculine noun meaning a messenger, or an angel. The term often denotes one sent on business or diplomacy by another.”
The phrase “of the LORD” is simply the word yehōwāh – self Existent or eternal one. We tend to pronounce it Jehovah. Dr. J. Vernon McGee tells us this is the Lord Jesus Christ before His incarnation, and he is not alone in his understanding or belief.
Since we know that the LORD sent angels, such as Gabriel and Michael, to deliver messages to people, then it is easy to accept that assertion now.
- to show to His bond-servants
John wrote down everything he saw in this vision, unlike me, who did not write down anything I saw in my vision concerning my own life. However, I remembered that Jesus was there and that I saw the end of this journey, and it was filled with joy.
The idea of being a Bond-servant is an important one, as it is an admission that I, the human, am not in charge, but He is.
We see the Apostle Paul saying this of himself.
Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God (Romans 1:1 NASB)
James, Peter, and Jude all confessed that they too were bond-servants, so we stand in good company.
The phrase bond-servant is the Greek word doulos and has a literal meaning of being a slave. In a qualified sense, it is one who is in subservience or subjection, much like a slave.
Are we slaves?
In reality, we still have our free will and can therefore choose NOT to follow after Jesus Christ and these laws that are written upon our hearts. Having chosen to follow Him, I would not consider anything else; and have, therefore, put myself in subjection to Him. Since making that decision, I have never felt more loved.
How this should affect you is in your decisions to test the mercy and grace of God.
I used to sit with a group of men; the leader called our meeting place the man cave. Apparently, for some, this meant pushing the boundaries of God’s grace. The problem with such excesses arises when we read things like we see in Galatians chapter five, which tells us that we have self-control, or James chapter three, which speaks about controlling your tongue so that you don’t set everything on fire with it.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:18-25 NASB)
Fascinating how verse 18 opens this treatise by saying, “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law,” (as in the Mosaic law;) and yet we are, for the law is now written upon our hearts. The presumption then is that you have not put yourself under subservience to Jesus Christ, and therefore, not subject to the Law of the Spirit.
Just in case you don’t wish to buy into the idea that the law is written upon your heart, have a look at
2 Corinthians 3:2-3.
You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
The other thing to cling to as you read through this book is that the Revelation is the only book of the Bible that has a special blessing upon it. But to be honest, it does come across as an if-then statement.
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3 NASB)
Some interpretations convey the idea of those who read to others. Having lived my life, it was not until the Holy Spirit came into my life and filled me, that I had any desire to speak to others about this Jesus I serve. But even at that, I have come to learn that my gifting is to teach. In those moments I am reading, but only because it is a necessity as I know that most of you will NOT read, even as you sit in church.
The “if-then” portion shows up when you read where it says, “and heed the things which are written in it (the Revelation.)
I believe that a portion of this blessing comes when you put what the book says into action. What I mean is, teach clearly what this book says, and make sure those you teaching, understand it.