Read Revelation 1:1-3
Verse 3 reads, “God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” You are my church, part of the body of believers who I have the privilege of sharing my reflections with. You are special to me. It is always my prayer that these devotional ramblings of mine will somehow touch your heart and draw you closer to the heart of God. I have been feeling drawn the Book of Revelation for a couple months, and I look forward to being on this journey through the book with you.
David has shared with me several books which I will be using as reference when I feel stuck or want to dig deeper. The Book of Revelation is going to challenge us, and I want to do my best to bring it alive for you and all my readers (as well as myself). The books I have are “Breaking the Code” by Bruce Metzger, “Joy in our Weakness” by Marva Dawn (personally autographed by the author), and “Revelation and the End of All Things” by Craig R. Koester. Have you read any of them?
As with all Scripture, it is helpful to understand it’s purpose, it’s style, and the audience. For Revelation, we are going to need to use our imaginations a bit, but in a disciplined way. I will not be looking at the passages “literally.” We may find ourselves intrigued yet disturbed. That’s okay. Pray before you read each passage that God will open up your eyes to fresh understanding.
I’m curious what your feelings about Revelation are? Feel free to leave a comment. People say lots of things — it predicts the end times, it’s a code, it’s just a dream, it’s scary, it’s confusing. I could go on and on. We shall see that victory comes despite weakness, and that there is beauty and hope in the imagery.
Our first few verses tell us this is the “word of God” and “testimony of Jesus.” For me, I can’t imagine trusting anything more. However, we do have to trust John, the one to whom the message was given, and the Holy Spirit to give us discernment. God had a purpose for giving this message to John.
We’ll see symbolism throughout the book. The number 7 will appear again and again. Seven means completion or perfection. It will help if we can see the descriptions as descriptions of the “symbols” not the reality conveyed by the symbols. We’ll do our best not to get caught up in the symbol but in the message intended.
You may have heard the term, “apocalypse.” From Google, “The word “apocalypse” refers to a genre of literature like the Book of Revelation itself. They are pieces of literature that start by revealing something or seeing visions or having individuals be taken up into heaven where they can see what’s going on from that vantage point.” We are about to embark on this journey. I’m ready. I’m listening. Are you?
Let’s pray…Lord, I thank you for this new journey and the message you gave to John. May I, too, read and obey. Give me wisdom and insight as I share my reflections. May those reading these writings also see a message for them. I know the victory is yours, and I thank you for fighting for me, for loving me, for forgiving me when I fall short. Empower me today to do your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.