Why Were Christians Given The Revelation?
The Book of Revelation is arguably the most complete future installment of God ever beheld by a man and subsequently addressed to the Church.
It's the last book in the Bible and contains twenty-two chapters. Including its origin, a personal address from Jesus to the Church, details about the great tribulation, the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and a look beyond time and history at the New Heaven and the New Earth.
Although it's clearly stated in the opening verse that God intended this vision for Christians, because it's comprised of complex symbols and images that require more than a casual reading, few Christians have read it.
My intent, therefore, is to exhort you. Hopefully, the following insights will stir a desire to read and understand the Revelation as God intended.
Late in the first century, the Apostle John was arrested by Rome for his testimony of Jesus Christ and imprisoned on a small rocky island in the Aegean Sea called Patmos.
Then on one given day in 95 AD, the aged apostle, while in worship, was visited by Jesus Christ and subsequently escorted into the future by an angel to bear witness of, and to document, the vision.
Accordingly, from his first encounter with Jesus through his subsequent journey into the future and back again to Patmos, John arduously recorded every word of God, every testimony of Jesus Christ, and every word picture and symbol just as he heard it and saw it. Then he presented it to the Church.
What you and I regard as the last book of the Bible is that selfsame account, exactly as John presented it to the churches nearly two thousand years ago.
Okay, but understand that John was merely the instrument used by the Holy Spirit to make the vision known to us. So this is not "The Revelation of John" as some wrongly assert.
God the Father gave God the Son the vision This is "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" (1:1).
To Whom Written
We don't have to speculate to whom the vision was intended. For it is clear from John's opening salutation that God revealed it "to show His servants things which shortly must take place" (1:1).
The word "servants" in Greek is doulos which means "bond slaves”. In other words, it is to the true followers of Jesus Christ that this prophecy was given.
Is it any wonder, then, that the world would mock it? After all, this prophecy was not intended for them.
Okay, but let's dig a little deeper into the phrase "servants" so you get the true picture. Jesus said, "No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends..." (John 15:15).
In other words, the Revelation is a letter written to us because God considers us as a friend to whom He wants to impart knowledge.
Contrary to the inappropriate actions of some, God had a singular purpose to reveal the Revelation to the Church.
To unveil Jesus Christ so we may know how He will accomplish all His work and purposes through Him in the last days with the destruction of all that is evil and the restoration of all that is good.
It was not given so we can set a date for Christ's coming, or so we can identity the Antichrist. The Bible is adamant that of that day and hour of His Coming no one knows except the Father (Matt. 24:36); and the Church has been instructed only to watch for Jesus Christ, not for the antichrist.
This vision is a proclamation that God will fulfill His word, bring an end to the governments of man, and will return to establish His Kingdom upon earth. It is His purposes and yet-future intentions for the consummation of our age that God wants the Church to understand and believe.
"Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found in Him in peace, without spot and blameless" (2 Peter 3:14)
Read It Prayerfully
Yes, the Revelation is full of images and symbols that are difficult to understand. Bear in mind, though, that it is a message that God purposely intended to show us. So make a commitment to dig in and to read it prayerfully, with an open and teachable heart, trusting that the Holy Spirit will reveal it to you.
For "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter" (Proverbs 25:2).
Moreover, we are promised a blessing by the Revelation if we do.
"Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it" (1:3).
About the Author
James Kobzeff is an evangelical born-again Christian who has long had a passion for the Church to know the Revelation.
You are free to read his commentary on the vision at his blog Learn the Revelation