No Where to Hide!
Keep in mind that John has already experienced the events that follow: what we will encounter; is now his narrative; an admonition to the Bride of christ (the church), a hope for the redeemed Israel and the martyrs, along with the warning of and the execution of judgment upon the wicked. God never judges anyone without first warning and giving ample opportunity for repentance: all are without excuse.
THE CAUSE - THE AUTHOR & HIS RESOURCES
The Author: John as the pen in the hand of God, the Holy Spirit. A brother who knew the tribulation surrounding the phenomenal growth of our Lord's infant Church; has seen miraculous growth midst persecution, amazing victories and countless lives redeemed. He has known the heartache of loss, but not as one without hope and has exchanged "son of thunder" for lover of the brethren. We in America cannot really comprehend the true love of one another that is witnessed in places of great persecution. We say we need one another by showing up at church once a week but our lives are so preoccupied with worldly cares we have become "self-sufficient". A majority of the late first century Church identified completely with John; knew of his powerful apostolic ministry and of his cruel treatment by emperor Domitian. John was truly a force within the fledgling Church and was trusted beyond anything we experience today.
- God the Father: The Eternal One; who is, who was and who is to come; the great I AM. A description that differs greatly from our Lord Jesus in two significant areas. First as shown in chapter four, God the Father is beyond human description; and secondly, there is no interruption in His existence as God. Our minds cannot fully comprehend the Trinity; by faith we must trust our Lord when He said, "..if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father." I believe personally we will never, even throughout eternity, fully comprehend our God, for He is infinite and we will have forever to just scratch the surface of His depth.
- The Seven Spirits: This is NOT the Holy Spirit; these are seven specific angels that have a supreme roll in the events of the 70th week of Daniel. Some try to support the notion of this being the Holy Spirit by quoting Isaiah 11:2, but if you examine context, content and the attributes ascribed the Holy Spirit you will find the following. First, the context is the empowerment given the Branch (our Lord) by the Holy Spirit for His holy ministry as a root out of Jesse. Second, if you "count" the gifts given, there are only six not seven: wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the Lord (strict obedience to the will of the Father). You will never find a more complete and perfect description of our Lord during His earthly ministry. Also the six attributes would never comprise a complete description of any of the Godhead, for the number six is a number associated in Scripture with man. What a "coincidence"; Jesus took on the form of a servant (doulos - one whose will is sold out to another) and was made in the likeness of MAN. Third: the Holy Spirit is always singular in nature in the passages that directly deal with His power and works and notice in verse 1:4, the seven spirits are before the throne; the Holy Spirit stands before no one for He is God. By the time one finishes the book of Revelation, you will have a greater appreciation for the power God has vested in His angels.
note: more on biblical numerology when i address the number 666.
- Jesus Christ: Whatever I write will never be adequate enough to do true justice to the Name above all names, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Savior, Redeemer and God Almighty. The description given by John is still unfathomable and it is the reason I chose the picture at the head of my article. I personally cannot abide pictures drawn by men wherein they depict their vision of our Lord's appearance. I am sorry, but when I read Revelation all I see is something that overwhelmed John and will overwhelm us as well. We have NO concept of the glory of our Lord. He made Moses hide in the cleft of the rock when He passed by him and only exposed His back to Moses; not His face. The result of this small encounter with God's glory made Moses' face shine so brightly that it caused the Israelites to fear. If the reflection alone of our God's glory caused man to fear, what shall happen when man shall see Him face to face? Jesus a humble servant and a faithful witness that was perfectly obedient to the will of the Father "unto death, even the death of the cross". He who was, He who was dead but lives for evermore: all the kingdoms of this world are subject to Him whether they believe it or not. The Alpha (arche' - the beginning of all things) and the Omega (telos - the goal of all things); the First (protos - I AM before all things) and the Last (eschatos - there is nothing after I AM). He who has the keys to hell (hades - the state between physical death and eternity; at one time included paradise) and to death (thanatos - judgment only remains). NO one enters heaven except by Jesus; likewise NO one dies before their time nor do they "miss the boat" and end up separated from God forever for only Jesus holds the keys to all of eternity.
THE EFFECT - THE WISE, THE CHURCH and THE FOOLISH
The Wise: The undeserved love of the Creator; our Father, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Not only have our sins been washed away by the blood of our Savior but He has made us kings and priests. How can anyone truly fathom that statement? From the foolish, the weak, the base and the nothings of this world to being co-rulers with the King of Kings is beyond comprehension. The believer's physical and spiritual changes that have to occur will be something miraculous to behold.
The Church: Jesus is in the midst of His Church. As with an earthly wedding vow; He is there for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health and is faithful even when we are unfaithful. When we address the seven churches of Revelation, the only thing we will find as a common thread among the churches is our Lord in their midst with strength for the struggling and the persecuted; instruction for the errant and the weak and encouragement for the faithful. No church can survive without His presence.
Revelation 1:7 Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.
The Foolish: So be it! The Church, the martyrs and the 144,000 are in heaven; the redeemed Israel is being miraculously hidden upon earth. EVERY one else shall see Him, whether it is in the valley of Megido or on a distant isle of the sea; a grief that consumes a person's whole being will overwhelm ALL. John, one who was a million times more godly than I, was initially terrified at the appearance of our glorified King. What kind of terror will grip the peoples of this earth at His appearance? Praise God, we will never know this terror of absolute hopelessness.
This is Wisdom for TODAY, NOT tomorrow.
One Day It Will Too Late
Spread the news; heed the warning of Jesus before those you love and cherish become one of the "every eye" people of Revelation 1:7. The purpose of Revelation to the Church is to remind us of "...what manner of persons ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness." Second Peter 3:11 May God bless you as we look to our Lord's return.