Revelation a Blessed Book
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants-- things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,
2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (NKJ)
I am very excited as we begin a new year and the last year of the century. It is an exciting time for the Christian Church also. When we realize that a good portion of the world dates everything from the birth of Jesus Christ, it makes me see what a tremendous impact the life of Jesus had on the world. And although Jesus as the Bible understands His person is less accepted in our world than ever before among the common people, yet at the end of each year they count the years from His birth.
It is also an exciting time for Christianity because as we approach the end of the millennium people are more apt to think about the return of Jesus Christ. So we plan to use this time to turn people's thoughts to these things.
There are several things that are clear.
- Jesus is coming again
- He could return at any time
- We will not know the time of His return until it is history
- Jesus taught that we should be always ready for His return
- The Book of Revelation is the unveiling of Jesus Christ
- God has chosen to reveal to us what the future holds. V-1
- God has always made His plans known to His people.
- Amos 3:7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. (NKJ)
- Think of Noah
- All the prophets of the Old Testament had a predictive principle in their ministry.
- Isaiah told of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians.
- Jeremiah told of the captivity and predicted the number of years it would last.
- Ezekiel foretold the final destruction of Jerusalem, their dispersion but also their final gathering together back into the land that did not take place until 1948. That is pretty good to foretell something over 2500 years in advance.
- Now it was not like the psychic hot line.
- It was always relevant.
- It always came true.
- Unlike the tabloid that predicts the expected.
- God knows the future for with Him it is as good as finished.
- Daniel is one of the most amazing books of the Old Testament.
- Daniel not only listed all the world main empires, it predicted events that are taking place in 1999.
- Daniel is the framework of prophecy, i.e. it gives us the outline into which everything else will fit.
- The word revelation means an unveiling, Apokalupsis, from which we have our word Apocalypse, signifies literally, a revelation, or discovery of what was concealed or hidden. Clarke
- God has revealed to His people how all this is going to end.
- God tells us how the stage will be set.
- We cannot know the hour or the day when He will return but we can recognize when God sets the stage it is time for the final act.
- There is a blessing for those who hear and do the words of this prophecy. V-3
- Revelation is the only book of the Bible that comes with a distinct blessing for those who read, understand and do what it says.
- There is a blessing for all who read and obey God's Word but there is a particular blessing on those who read, understand and obey this book.
- Now take the idea that the book of Revelation is meant to be a blessing and compare that with how it is treated by the church and by Christians in general.
- Revelation, though it is an unveiling, is most obscure book of the Bible.
- If God has promised a blessing by this book, should we not spend time to know and to do it?
- There is always a blessing in knowing what is coming for then we can prepare to face it.
- We are told that in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD that there were almost no Christians killed because they had headed the warning of Jesus.
- Luke 21:20-22 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. "Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (NKJ)
- There are blessings of assurance in this book that would keep us from fear as we approach the end of this age.
- There is the promise that we will not face the wrath of God that He will pour out on the world.
- There is the promise that Jesus will come to put an end to injustice and oppression.
- There is a promise of a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells all that God ever intended.
- Jesus is coming again. V-7
- Behold, He is coming Complain at it, dispute it, despise it, mock at it, put it aside, hate it, and hide from it, as people may, it is a great fundamental article of the Gospel, that that same blessed Lord, who ascended from Mount Olivet, and is now at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, shall come from thence to judge the quick and the dead, and to stand again on that very summit from which he went up. This is true, as Christ himself is true; and "he that hath an ear to hear, let him hear." Amen. Seiss
- With clouds
- This is how he ascended and this is how He will descend.
- Today we are used to seeing things go up through the clouds and come down through them but the return of Jesus Christ will be as spectacular to us as it was when He was taken up from them.
- Every eye shall see Him
- It is interesting to read the commentaries concerning this phrase.
- One says that of course they would not all see Him at the same time, But that was before the days of CNN and satellite technology.
- Israel will see Him as the one they crucified
- Some have thought that this meant that Israel will be destroyed at this time but nothing could be farther from the truth.
- There is a interesting passage over in Zechariah.
- Zech 12:10 "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they have pierced; they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. (NKJ)
- The idea of this passage is that all the Jews will recognize Jesus as the Messiah that their people rejected 2000 years ago.
- At time the scripture will be full filled that says all Israel will be saved.
- The wicked will mourn because of Him
- But those who do not own Him as Lord now in this life will own Him as judge at the time of judgment.
- We find that the scripture says they cry for the rocks to fall on them to hide them from His righteous judgment but nothing can keep them from their appointment with the judge of all the earth.
Do not be mistaken. Jesus is coming again. Will we be ready? What if all the hype about 2000 is not just hype? What if Jesus did return? Would He find you ready.
This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com
Revelation 1:1 Revelation-- Apocalypse: unveiling those things which had been veiled. A manifesto of Christ's kingdom. JFB [The Revelation of Jesus Christ] The word Apokalupsis, from which we have our word Apocalypse, signifies literally, a revelation, or discovery of what was concealed or hidden. Clarke ... The book is in a series of parallel groups, not in chronological succession. ... [Of (i. e., from) Jesus Christ.] Jesus Christ, not John, is the Author of the Apocalypse. The title ought to be, `The Revelation of Jesus Christ according to John; ' not `of John. ' ... [Shortly]-- `speedily; ' `in' or `with speed. ' Compare <Rev. 1:3; Rev. 22:6-7>. Not, according to man's computation, near; but "shortly" corrects our estimate of worldly periods. Though a "thousand years" <Rev. 20>, at least, are included, the time is at hand <Luke 18:8>.
Revelation 1:3 [He that readeth, and they that hear]]-- the public reader in church assemblies, and his hearers. Firstly, he by whom John sent the book, from Patmos to the seven churches, read it publicly. A special blessing attends him who reads or hears the apocalyptic "prophecy" with a view to keeping the things (as one article combines `they that hear and keep: ' not two classes, but only one-- `they who not only hear, but also keep those things, ' <Rom. 2:13>): JFB
Revelation 1:4 "to the seven churches in Asia." We sometimes speak of "the Church" in its entire collective capacity, as if it were but one body. And such it really is in its source, head, faith and sacraments, but not in its earthly organization. We also speak of the Church of a particular country or denomination; and not improperly when we wish to designate clusters of churches of particular and distinctive type, or regime, or geographical contiguity. But the Scriptures express themselves differently. They do not contemplate the Christians of so many countries or confessions, as so many churches; but find a church in every individual congregation, having its own minister, elders and deacons, without regard to any corporation other than itself. "Asia" is a large district of country, lying on the north of the Mediterranean, east of the outlet of the Euxine. It had but one general government at the time.
But the Apocalypse does not speak of the collective body of Christians on that territory as "the Church of Asia." They were organized into distinct congregations in the several towns and cities, and these separate and independent assemblies are spoken of as so many "churches." They are addressed singly as "the churches which are in Asia," such as "the Church in Ephesus," "the Church in Smyrna," "the Church in Pergamos," etc. The ecclesiastical unit is, therefore, to be reckoned from the local assembly under one minister, and such helpers as may be grouped around him, in the acknowledgment and the administration of the commands of Christ. These several units, or any number of them, may lawfully join together in other and more general organizations and administrations, but never so as to ignore or supersede the proper churchly character of each without regard to the rest. The original order of the Church, as the apostles founded it, and as they addressed and left it, is congregational. And every system which obliterates that order, in so far departs from what God and his inspired servants have authorized and ordained. John knew of no churches but the individual congregations, however they might voluntarily come together for mutual counsel and general edification. Seiss [Him which is ... was ... is to come]-- a periphrasis for the incommunicable name Yahweh (heb 3068), the self-existing, unchangeable. JFB
It is first of all "from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come" (<Rev 1:4; 1:8>); that is, from the Absolute One, who knows no change, no dependence on time or place, but to whom the present, the past, and the future are one and the same eternal now; who is, and who was, and who is to be, even the infinite, incomprehensible, unapproachable Father of lights, from whom cometh every good and every perfect gift, and with whom is neither variableness, nor the least shadow of turning. Seiss [The seven Spirits which are before his throne],-- literally, `in the presence of. ' The Holy Spirit in His sevenfold (i. e., perfect and universal) energy. Corresponding to "the seven churches." One in His essence, manifold in His influences. The seven eyes resting on the stone laid by Yahweh <Zech. 3:9; Rev. 5:6>. JFB "from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;" that is, from the Holy Spirit, in the full completeness of his office and powers, as sent forth for the illumination, comfort and edification of all the subjects of God's redeeming grace. "Seven" is the number of dispensational fullness and perfection; and as there are seven churches, making the one Church, so there are "the seven Spirits of God," making up the completeness of the one gracious administration of the Holy Spirit. "Before the throne;" that is, connected with the throne, and fulfilling the purposes of Him who sits upon the throne. Seiss
Revelation 1:5 [The Prince],-- ruler. The kingship of the world which the Tempter offered to Jesus on condition of doing homage, and so shunning the Cross, He has obtained by the Cross. "The kings of the earth" conspired against the Lord's Anointed; these He shall break in pieces <Ps. 2:2,9>. Those wise in time, who kiss the Son, shall bring their glory unto Him at His manifestation as King of kings, after having destroyed His foes. JFB [Washed us from our sins] The redemption of the soul, with the remission of sins, and purification from unrighteousness, is here, as in all the New Testament, attributed to the blood of Christ shed on the cross, for man. Clarke "And freed us from our sins by his own blood." We are prone to overlook this as an accomplished fact. As we refer the height of the divine love and compassion to the past, and so diminish the comfort which belongs to us from it as a present reality; so we are too apt to refer our absolution in Christ's blood to some future attainment, and to hold back from the proper appropriation of its virtue except as connected with certain works or experiences of our own. In both instances we are grievously at fault. As God's great love, in all its fullness, is a present love; so our absolution through the blood of Christ is a past absolution. We have not to wait and work to be forgiven. The work has long since been done. The decree went forth, the releasing word was spoken, the forgiveness was declared, when Jesus left his tomb; and all that any man has to do on that subject is to believe it, and to appropriate to himself the glorious reprieve.
What saith the Scripture? "God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned" (<John 3:17-18>). What of "the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us?" (<Col 2:14>). Has not Jesus long since entirely disposed of it? Does not the apostle testify that He hath blotted it out, and taken it out of the way, nailing it to his cross? (<Col. 2:14>). It is not written, that "there is now therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?" (<Rom. 8:1>). And in the light of passages like these, I should stultify the message which God has given me to deliver, and detract from the richness of that Gospel which I am ordained to preach, if I did not come to you with the blessed announcement of a pardon already passed, and a complete absolution already spoken, for all your sins, however many or deep-dyed, on the simple condition that you but believe my word, and take the assurance to your souls. Seiss
Revelation 1:6 has made us kings and priests to His God and Father kings in relation to man, priests in relation to God, serving day and night in His temple <Rev. 5:10; 7:15>. ... The distinction of priests and people, nearer and more remote from God, shall cease; all shall have nearest access. All persons and things shall be holy to the Lord. ... "A cloud received Him out of their sight" at His ascension <Acts 1:9>: which resembles the manner of His coming again <Acts 1:11>. JFB [For ever and ever] To ages of ages; or rather, through all indefinite periods; through all time, and through eternity. [Amen.] A word of affirmation and approbation; so it shall be, and so it ought to be. Clarke
Revelation 1:7 Behold, He is coming Complain at it, dispute it, despise it, mock at it, put it aside, hate it, and hide from it, as people may, it is a great fundamental article of the Gospel, that that same blessed Lord, who ascended from Mount Olivet, and is now at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, shall come from thence to judge the quick and the dead, and to stand again on that very summit from which he went up. This is true, as Christ himself is true; and "he that hath an ear to hear, let him hear." Amen. Seiss
Revelation 1:8 [I am Alpha and Omega] I am from eternity to eternity. This mode of speech is borrowed from the Jews, who express the whole compass of things by the Hebrew letters 'aleph (') and tau (t), the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet; but as John was writing in Greek, he accommodates the whole to the Greek alphabet, of which A alpha and OO Clarke