Why Are Christians Afraid of the Book of Revelation?
A Gift From the Father to the Son for His Servants.
The Giver of the Gift
1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants, things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John: 2Who bare record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
The Gift - Verses 1: A revelation (apokalupsis - to unveil, which includes both the object and the interpretation of same). This is not a singular revelation but the culmination of hundreds of revelations throughout all of Scripture. History is replete with sects and heretics clamoring to have the latest revelations of our Lord and the future; none of which that have stood the test of Scripture. …of Jesus Christ; a name that stands alone and needs no explanation to those who can read, hear and meditate upon the words of this book. …"which God gave unto Him to show unto His (the Son's) servants (us)”; this is a gift from the Father to the Son to be passed on to His Bride the Church, the redeemed Israel and to the martyrs of the 70th week of Daniel. We who are alive in Christ, have received a seemingly mysterious but most majestic gift that requires our diligence in seeking to understand. The present times are discernible, but it is the future that should drive us towards personal godliness in our lives today. Chapters 2 and 3 directly address today’s Church. We do not serve a carpenter's son nor a man still hanging upon a cross, but God Almighty whose glory and power we cannot now or ever will fully comprehend. He is infinite; we are not. Also, in the Old Testament, before anyone could exercise the death penalty, two or more witnesses were required. Likewise, Revelation concerns the death penalty for the wicked; the Word (logos) of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ and all that was revealed to His servant (doulos - one whose will is sold out permanently to another) John being the witnesses for the prosecution.
Take note: this revelation witnessed by John was signified (Greek – 2 words: seimaino - a mark + apostello - set apart), not by an angel but by His angel. God is not the author of confusion; the angels of heaven are perfectly ordered by rank and file, each having their assigned stations and duties which they fulfill to the glory of God. The nature of man is to establish order from the top down as are the legions of Satan. Neither we or the devil have created anything new; we copy the heavenly for we have been made in the image of God. Whoever the angel is; in our Lord's eyes, lends His stamp of approval upon the testimony of John which follows. Our enemy the devil has used this ruse of a verifying angel more than once to deceive man into accepting another Gospel. Galatians 1:7-8 "Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." By the time we reach the end of Revelation we will have learned more in this one book of the Bible about angels and their calling.
John on Patmos
The Gift Bearer
The timing was perfect; the Church was established, and he was the last witness that could testify to it all. A son of thunder, now the apostle of love; John was the last of his breed; many even believed he would not die (John 21:23). He had witnessed the incredible growth of the Church, had seen the power of God displayed in ways you and I could never imagine and was now called upon to place the capstone of all Scripture into our hands.
John never asked to be imprisoned on Patmos but was satisfied that he was in the center of God’s will for his life as had all the other apostles who had lived and died for the sake of Christ. You and I may not have planned to be where we are today in life, but as a believer, we are exactly where God would have us be today. Tomorrow is another story. Today we must rejoice in God’s hand upon our lives and be about seeking that which honors Him, which includes the blessing of Revelation.
Revelation 1:3 - The Blessing.
To receive this incredible blessing, three requirements are given. In Greek all are present participle verbs (action), which meaning this is what you constantly practice; this is who you are.
- Read: simple enough in itself but not complete; even a non-believer can read it.
- Hear (Greek: akouo - to hear with the ear of the mind); this is difficult and takes diligence for the believer; impossible for the lost soul.
- The caveat: and keep the words (logos) of this prophecy; the most difficult challenge for any believer.
Revelation is not to be trivialized, sensationalized or exploited for personal reasons whether as an individual, a group or a body of believers. We must take the study of Revelation very seriously and as it requires diligent study of the whole of Scripture. Any other approach to this wonderful book would be questionable at best.
My greatest personal blessing that I have received from my years of studying Revelation is that the Old Testament has really come alive is so many more ways. There truly is nothing new in Revelation, just greater details of that to which the prophets of old testified. As it basically says in Amos 3:7 … God does nothing unless He tells His prophets first. The Gospels are alive with the Old and the New and we have the privilege of John being the last. I emphasize, the last. There are no more revelations coming other than that which we have received and due to the warning at the end of Revelation: beware of those who add, delete or alter that which we can hold in our hands, read with our minds and live a life to honor Jesus.
May the reader be blessed.