Summary: Is there hope for the Christian in the book of Revelation or fear?
Iliff & Saltillo UM Churches
“Glimpses into Revelation: a Book of Fear or a Book of Hope?”
Rev. 1:3, 9-20
INTRODUCTION: There is a lot of interest in the book of Revelation these days because there have been recent movies made and books written about certain events of the end times. There seems to be a lot of fear and confusion connected with this book because of the way it is written. The Apocalyptic style of writing was a literary style that first-century Christians understood whereas it is foreign to us. Apocalyptic writing which involves the unveiling of future events was used by Jewish authors at this time in history. Through bizarre images, vivid pictures of death, supernatural creatures and cryptic language, the writers expressed their hope for a day when judgment would take place against all evil powers and peace would be ushered in.
This book was written to Christians and was meant to encourage Christians in every age to maintain their faith in spite of opposition and to do so in confidence that they will share in Jesus’ ultimate victory. The overall theme of the book is: Christ Shall Overcome.
Revelation was written during a time of Roman oppression around A.D. 90-95. John was a victim of this oppression and was exiled to the island of Patmos in the Aegean Sea where he wrote this book. He was writing to fellow Christians to strengthen and encourage them, not to scare them to death. Had you been living in this time, what assurance would you want? What would encourage your fellow Christians and your children and grandchildren? Throughout the book John reminds them that history belongs to God and that it is important to keep the faith.
The letter is both a warning to Christians who have grown apathetic and an encouragement to those who are faithfully enduring the struggles in the world. It reassures us that good will triumph over evil, gives us hope as we face difficult times, and gives guidance when we are wavering in our faith. Christ’s message to the church is a message of hope for all believers in every generation. Why do I say this? What can we get out of today’s scripture?
1. The Source of this Message: It is important for us to know the source of this message. It has been called the Revelation of John, but it goes much deeper than that. In this chapter we find that it is not something John dreamed up after eating spicy tacos one night--but it begins by saying--”The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show his servants what must soon take place.” In the first chapter we find that God the Father revealed this to Jesus who sent it in a vision by an angel to John the faithful servant. There is a PROGRESSION here from God to us. This book reveals or unveils future events but also tells of the past and the present. This was to be an open book so believers could know and be encouraged and also a warning for believers to get their lives straightened out while there was still time. It is this willingness of God to let us in on His plan for the future that gives us HOPE, not FEAR.
How do we know that this book has any authority behind it? Why do we go through this progression? Why do we start with God the Father--In John 12:49, Jesus said, “I did not speak of my own accord but the father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.” Who does this hope come from and why can you rely on it? It comes from the ONE who is reliable--and a great deal of information is given about Him in this first chapter.
The message comes from: Verse 4
A. (God the Father) who is
who is to come
B. (Holy Spirit) from the 7 fold spirit- -or COMPLETE Holy Spirit
C. (The Son) from Jesus Christ
firstborn of the dead
ruler of the kingdom of the earth
the Alpha and Omega-- beginning and the end
Here you have evidence of the Trinity.
John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day when he had this vision. Some say he was worshipping the Lord on a Sunday. Some say it was more than this--it was a very intense and different supernatural spiritual experience. This is what he saw:
7 Golden Lampstands (The Jewish Christians would have related to this) and it would have given authority to John’s writings.
The Son of man--Jesus--standing in the middle of these. The Menorah--But here they were thought to be in a circle each having its own stand. Jesus was standing in the midst of the lampstands (which represented the churches) and was with them as they went through trials and persecution. That itself would have given them HOPE. They were not alone in their sufferings.