Scared and Confused
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Read Revelation 1:1-3 (ESV)
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 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.
What can we understand about the second coming of Jesus and the revelation to John from today’s verses?
Our culture is obsessed with the end times. Apocalyptic or post-apocalypse themes are a Hollywood favorite. It seems the masses can’t get enough of imagining what the end of the world will be like and fantasizing about how the strong will triumph in the midst of it.
What is interesting though is that there actually is a book from God revealing these mysteries and we tend to avoid it as much as we can. Some say that Revelation is too confusing and bizarre to be understood. I have also heard people say that the book is scary and anxiety-inducing so they don’t want to read it.
But this month at Back to the Bible, we are taking the time to study the book of Revelation together because as verse 3 of today’s passage says: “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.” The book of Revelation was meant to be read, understood, and applied by God’s servants. Fellow believers in Christ, that’s us!
It is true that Bible-believing theologians often disagree about how to interpret the timeline of Revelation. Revelation also describes mysterious symbols and apocalyptic language and visions that can make it challenging to decipher. The good news is that what is important for us to know is abundantly clear and we can trust that God will work out the rest in His own time and in His own way.
From today’s verses, it is clear that Revelation is a “revelation of Jesus Christ.” That means it isn’t just a book revealing details about the end times. Revelation clearly reveals truths about who Jesus Christ is and His exaltation as Lord. As we will see as we continue to study Revelation, the book is crystal clear about what will happen to those who do not worship Him as Lord. And yes, it is heart-breaking and terrifying to think about.
But it is also clear from today’s verses that those who do read these words, listen to them, and obey them are blessed. The warnings and pleadings to submit to Jesus as Lord and the consequences for not doing so are vivid. But the message of comfort, hope, and peace for those who belong to the Lord is also plainly understood. It is clear that Jesus wins. It is clear that evil is vanquished. It is clear that Satan will be defeated. It is clear that we will dwell with Him and worship Him as Lord forever.
Friends, we don’t have to be confused or scared by the book of Revelation. The fact that Jesus is Lord, that He defeats Satan, and puts an end to evil can be easily understood. We can be certain that His return is imminent. That shouldn’t be scary or anxiety-inducing for those of us who belong to Jesus Christ. Instead, it should fill us with joy, hope, and longing for His return! Our understanding of Revelation should help us persevere and endure temporary suffering for future eternal gain.
Jesus, thank You for revealing Your glory and majesty to me and for showing me what is to come. Because I know that Your return is imminent, I want to live in obedient service to You with hope that the suffering of this world is temporary but living in glory with You will be eternal! In You, I have nothing to fear. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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