A Daunting Book
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place………Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. Revelation 1:1, 3
We celebrated the birthday of my 93 year old father last Friday. After 66 years of ordained ministry, surviving two wars, serving as a Chaplain to Marines in combat, founding and shepherding two churches over 27 years, and traveling the world for many more years to pastor chaplains and their families, he is still at this age teaching a weekly bible study to men in his retirement community. Today his study begins the seven trumpets of Revelation, which is not about the horn section of an orchestra; though many Christians today have little clue what the seals, trumpets, and bowls of Revelation are or whether they have any relevance to their life.
The book itself, except for portions of Daniel, is so different from the other books of the Bible, that some Bible scholars of the past even wondered whether it should have a place in the canon of Scripture. John Calvin, one of the most brilliant scholars of Scripture in Church history, wrote a commentary on every New Testament book except that of Revelation. He believed it to be an inspired book of the Bible, but leaving it (or avoiding it) to the last he ran out of time with his death in 1564. There is little argument that it is a daunting read; and few there are that rush to spend time in Revelation over other books of the Bible.
But consider this and please take note: it is Jesus Himself who personally trumpets Revelation’s vital importance for your life and unequivocally promises blessing for everyone who reads it, hears it, and takes it to heart! Though there are parts of it that are difficult to understand, as Peter describes portions of Paul’s Epistles, Jesus would never have revealed to us what He specifically commanded John to write unless He knew we needed it, would benefit from it, and would be able to understand it. Do not sell your God given faculties short; instead use them to be a student and workman that does not need to be ashamed, correctly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Spend time in Revelation in developing your world-view, your understanding of the person of Christ, your fitness for heaven, your motivation to overcome in this world’s battle, God’s sovereignty in all of history, and the consummation of everything. Do not allow the various views of eschatology (the study of the end times) to deflect your personal reading of the text as you pray for the Holy Spirit to open its truths to your own heart and understanding. Take to heart what specifically speaks to your life in the admonitions and encouragements to the Seven Churches in the 2nd and 3rd chapters. Take seriously the description of eternal judgment, as well as the clear promise of reward for all who rest wholly in the person and work of Jesus Christ for their salvation. And then, get your vision and your mind on the Lord’s final exclamation: “Behold, I am coming soon! Finally, consider if you truly empathize with John’s passionate response to the Lord’s promise: “Even so. Come, Lord Jesus!
“The sands of time are sinking, the dawn of heaven breaks, the summer morn I’ve sighed for, the fair sweet morn awakes; Dark, dark hath been the midnight, but dayspring is at hand, And glory, glory dwelleth in Emanuel’s land.
(1st verse of Samuel Rutherford’s and Anne Cousin’s hymn, “The Sands of Time Are Sinking, 1857)
Sign up for our monthly newsletter and weekly devotional