A guest blog post by Pastor James Bell. Pastor James has served SouthSide Baptist Church in Gallatin, TN for 38 years.
REVELATION 1-22: THE UNVEILING OF JESUS CHRIST!
Through the aged Apostle John, exiled and imprisoned, the Holy Spirit gave The REVELATION! The Revelation is above all else the UNVEILING OF JESUS as He is today! And in this grand unveiling of JESUS, we are also given much to HEED and much to OBEY! MOREOVER, in the Revelation we are clearly shown that no matter how bad the storms get on planet earth— JESUS IS STILL THE GREAT CAPTAIN of the good ‘ship’ earth! The risen, ascended, ruling from heaven King of Kings and LORD OF Lords will accomplish all of the Great Triune God’s good purposes!
REVIVAL: WE CANNOT BE SERIOUS ABOUT GENUINE REVIVAL UNLESS WE BECOME SERIOUS ABOUT READING, HEARING, AND OBEYING that which is found in the last book of the Bible! MOREOVER, we are kidding ourselves in thinking that we can STAND FIRM and at PEACE in the midst of the storms present and/or the coming storms IF WE ARE NOT DEEPLY GROUNDED in the Grand Unveiling of Jesus AS HE IS TODAY! We must get serious about the instructions He gives to His saints in The Revelation!
Please do not slander the Holy Spirit by claiming that 'The Unveiling of Jesus' is HARD to understand and SCARY! The truth is that the primary messages of The Revelation are exceedingly PLAIN to see; and the primary truth of the book is MOST COMFORTING! The first recipients of The Revelation were TRIBULATION saints! God used John, a saint in great tribulation and persecution, to pen The Revelation! (Revelation 1:9) Historically, the Revelation has been and is a great source of comfort to persecuted saints. And since, “all who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution’— then, if I am living godly I am an especially good candidate for great blessings from The Revelation!
The Revelation IS scary to satan, demons, and all other haters of God! Doubtless, Satan does not want saints to enter into the profound comfort and instruction that God has in The Unveiling of Jesus!
Remember that The Revelation was written to persecuted Christians who neededsome encouragement, who needed to know that JESUS and not Rome was in command, who needed commendations, commands, and corrections. PLACE YOURSELF IN THE MIND-SET of one of those FIRST CHRISTIANS to receive The Revelation. Family members and other fellow saints were MISSING. They were not AWOL. No, they had been fed to the lions… or maybe banished like the Apostle John to slave labor on the isle of Patmos. Rome was MIGHTY. The saints were becoming fearful. Some were wondering if they were but fools. Some were already tolerating sin and apostasy. But at just the right moment, ALMIGHTY GOD INVADED the isle of Patmos by the Holy Spirit and moved John’s pen!
And when The Revelation was completed, somehow, God got the letter to the churches. Can’t you just imagine, the persecuted saints at Ephesus, meeting in secret… and a ‘runner’ comes in… they are startled and wonder, “Is he a spy?”No, he proves his credentials… He has just left the aged pastor and Apostle John and reports, “I have in my hand a scroll that God has given to John to give to the churches!” Amazed and excited, they listened as the entire Unveiling of JESUS was read!
[You have NEVER read The Revelation as it should be read UNLESS you have read it STRAIGHT THROUGH IN ONE SITTING… and WITH THE MIND-SET of those who first heard it read!]
I promise you, that by the time the last ‘AMEN’ of the Revelation was read by the ‘runner’ from John— Well, words cannot capture the joy, the excitement, the hope, the repenting, THE REVIVAL that took place!
URGENT PLEA: Let us so prayerfully READ, so seek to HEAR and so commit to OBEY the things written in The Revelation— that WE TOO WILL ENTER INTO A NEW DAY OF JOY, EXCITEMENT, HOPE, REPENTING… in other words— GOD SENT REVIVAL!
THE UNVEILING OF JESUS CHRIST!
The Revelation is the glorious unveiling of Jesus Christ, the Sovereign Lamb of God. The Revelation 'unveils' what Jesus Christ is doing at this present time; what He will be doing in days ahead and the reality of His ultimate intentions.
READ THE REVELATION LOOKING FOR THE SOVEREIGN LAMB OF GOD!
1. Revelation, chapters 1-3 — The Sovereign Lamb is in Heaven working through His BLOOD BOUGHT REDEEMED on earth.
2. Revelation, chapters 4-19 — The Sovereign Lamb is in Heaven ruling and over ruling people and events on earth— KINGS AND KINGDOMS, PRESIDENTS, DICTATORS, and even events of this present hour. JESUS is MOVING THEM ALL toward that great and glorious day when He, the Lord Jesus Christ, will come back to this earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords! In the midst of all these events THE REDEEMED, [Be they Church saints and/or tribulation saints], EXPERIENCE THE WRATH OF MEN AND SATAN, BUT NEVER THE WRATH OF GOD.
3. Revelation, chapters 20-22— THE SOVEREIGN LAMB IS ETERNALLY enthroned and His holy Bride will be with Him in the New Earth and the New Heavens.NEVER FORGET IT: THE SUPREME, ULTIMATE GOAL OF ALL HISTORY IS A REDEEMED BRIDE FOR JESUS, COMPRISED OF THOSE REDEEMED BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB FROM ALL ERAS OF TIME.
READ THE REVELATION LOOKING FOR THOSE REDEEMED BY CHRIST!
1. Revelation, chapters 1-20— Those redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, GOD’S ELECT, Those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ— ALL through the Book of Revelation, those redeemed by the blood of the LAMB are seen on earth, moving through struggles and tribulations and martyrdom; and they are seen IN HEAVEN.
WHILE ON EARTH THE REDEEMED ARE the subject of man’s HATRED AND WRATH and Satan’s hatred and wrath. THEY ARE OFTEN PRESENT WHEN GOD POURS OUT SOME EXPRESSION OF HIS WRATH— AS WAS NOAH; AS WAS ISRAEL ON THE NIGHT OF PASSOVER; AS WAS LOT. BUT ALTHOUGH AFFECTED, THEY ARE PROTECTED AND NEVER THE SUBJECTS OF GOD'S WRATH.
2. Revelation, chapters 21-22— ULTIMATELY, OUR LORD’S REDEEMED ON EARTH become the Church completely triumphant in Heaven, the Bride adorned for Her Heavenly Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Revelation has ESPECIALLY been given to encourage the true SAINTS OF GOD IN CHRIST who have always BEEN and WHO ALWAYS will be persecuted. Jesus said, “In the world ye shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John ) The Revelation could well be called Jesus’ commentary on John ! The early Christians were being killed by the thousands.
And the Revelation came to them with a very powerful message: The Lamb is the Lion! He is supreme! He is sovereign and He is sufficient.
So it is no surprise that the Revelation is a book filled with praise songs exalting the Conquering Christ! Every line in the Revelation and every song in the Revelation encourages the Redeemed and reminds Christians of every age that God will have the last say! No matter what seems to be happening in the world—JESUS is supreme! He is sovereign and He is sufficient. MOREOVER, the Revelation is a reminder that joy is not the absence of suffering but the presence of God and confidence in God IN THE MIDST OF THE MOST TRYING OF CIRCUMSTANCES.
AGAIN, THE CHRISTIANS WHO FIRST READ THE REVELATION WERE BEING MARTYRED BY THE THOUSANDS. Certainly, they were a part of the New Testament Church. In the future, there may or may not be, but certainly there was no ESCAPE FROM TRIBULATION 'RAPTURE' FOR THEM OR FOR PERESECUTED SAINTS FOR THE LAST 2000 YEARS!
Instead, for 2000 years the Revelation SHOUTS, "BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH; AND I WILL GIVE THEE THE CROWN OF LIFE;" AND LO0K AT THE GLORY THAT’S COMING! The Revelation gives needed re-assurance that Jesus is SUPREME, SOVERIGN AND SUFFICIENT. HERE IN 2014, couldn’t we use some of that same reassurance?