Summary: Introduction of a series
Blessed by the Book - The Revelation of Jesus Christ
The intent of this applied research project is to take an overview of the first three chapters of the book of Revelation, specifically to look at the letters written to the early church. In these chapters, we see messages to real, local churches. In this section, I want to lay some foundation in the form of introduction before we study the churches.
Revelation is a book that mostly speaks of things that are yet to occur. The saved will live in the presence of God forever. Those who do not know Christ as their Savior will only face the doom and damnation of this book! Prophecies have been fulfilled before, and in God’s time, all will be fulfilled. The end of the times of this earth, as we know it, is closer than the world believes and there must be a new urgency in the church.
The word "Revelation" comes from the Greek word from which we get our word "Apocalypse". It means the disclosure or unveiling of the truth. Even though we are going to cover the first three chapters, we must understand that this entire book is an unveiling of the judgement that will come. It is unalterable, unstoppable, unchangeable, and undeniable! To say you do not believe does not change the fact that Jesus will rapture His church, send tribulation to the world, return bodily, and rule and reign forevermore. This is not an exhaustive study, but hopefully a practical one.
First of all, this is not the Revelation of John, it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ as stated in verse 1. It is the Revelation of the Word that was “made flesh and dwelt among us.” The delivery boy was John. As a side note, if we study the Gospels, we find that the best friend of Jesus while on earth was the Apostle John. Faithfulness always brings trust. God chose to give the responsibility to pen this book to the churches of Asia Minor to John, in my opinion, because John was faithful. John could be trusted, so when God wanted these truths written, He dictated them to this elderly apostle.
In Revelation, chapter one, we must notice the blessings of the Book. In verse 3, we find that there is an individual blessing for those that will read the book. A blessing for Preachers who will read it and teach it to their congregations seems to be implied. Preachers will be blessed for teaching this book of prophecy. It is a blessing on the one who proclaims. Today it may be applied that a blessing would be on the reader as well. It would do us good to note that, unlike when it was first written, today it is available for all to read for themselves. Paul instructed Timothy to be faithful to read in 1 Timothy 4:13, that says, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.”
In addition, there is a blessing for those that hear. This does not mean that they merely had the sounds of the book pass through their auditory system, but that they have open ears and understand. As we will see, to all seven churches, it is said: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” Eight other times we see Jesus using the same words. God wants us to listen. How many times do we hear the words but never hear the message? The Word of God is clear in its instruction, so many times, we can admit that listening is a problem for mankind. Just a few of the verses include:
Proverbs 19:20 “Hear counsel, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise...”
Proverbs 15:31 “The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.”
Ecclesiastes 5:1 “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil”.
It is necessary when we study the Word that we are careful to take the instruction that it gives. We must never be guilty of merely knowing what it says without applying it to how we live and think.
Not only is there blessing for reading and hearing, but also for heeding. It says that those that “keep” the things will find blessings on their lives. The word “keep” gives the indication that one has not only heard, but learned. After it is learned, there is action put to the learning. That is keeping the teachings of the things found in the book, and in that, blessings are found. We must keep, learn and apply the commandments of God. This same word is used in 1 John 5:3, and it says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” Then in 1 John 5:21, it says,“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” We must not only learn, but we must guard against other things becoming so important in our lives that we worship them. And the way we walk in the ways that we should is found in the twenty-first verse of the book of Jude, where we read, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” If we are to learn the things of God, we will keep ourselves from the things of the world and keep ourselves to the things of God through His love.