Summary: God gives His followers a vision of His glory, and shows us that our victory through the tribulation is found as we centere our attention in worship of Him.
In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve slightly changed the order of service this morning; and it’s not by accident. This morning, we’re going to do things a little different from the way we usually do, and so I ask you to bear with me.
It is good to be in the house of God this Sabbath day. I stand before you this morning, and I look out at this congregation, and I am blessed by this assembly of God’s people who have come to worship here today. At the same time, however, I look at this congregation, and I am sad for many of you. I’m sad for many of you here this morning, because you haven’t been to our Wednesday evening prayer meeting and Bible study. You see, each Wednesday night since about mid-November we have been meeting to pray and to study the book of Revelation. And I must say that I’m sorry for those of you who haven’t been with us, because let me tell you, you have missed out!
God has given those of us who get together such a tremendous blessing in the study of His Word that I really do – I feel sad for those who aren’t there. You don’t know what you’ve been missing. I mean, I thought I knew the book of Revelation; but I have gained so much from our Wednesday night gatherings that what I thought I knew pales in comparison to what I have learned. Never has my relationship with God been so challenged, and at the same time so uplifted, so increased, so inspired, as it has each Wednesday night. I have seen God come alive for me in ways I never have before – I’ve seen a picture of Him that is so beautiful my mind can hardly grasp it. (Would those of you attending agree with me?) In fact, now that we’re coming to the end of the study, one of the ladies was saying that once we’re done, we should go back and start all over again – that’s how great a blessing it’s been.
Yes friends, I can say that it has been thus far a tremendous – at times an overwhelming blessing to study the book of Revelation. In fact, God promised just such a blessing for the study of this particular book of the Bible. I’d invite you to turn with me, please, to the very first few verses of Revelation. Revelation, chapter one, starting at verse one (read vv. 1-3)….
The first thing we notice about this book is that it is called a “revelation”. Why is it called a revelation? It is called a revelation, because, more than in any other place in the Bible, in this book God has something special He wants to reveal to us.
And what is it He wants to reveal to us? Revelation 1, verse 1 tells us that this is a revelation of Whom? – of Jesus Christ! In other words, in giving us the book of Revelation, God wanted to reveal Jesus Christ to His followers in a way that no other book of the Bible can. The word “Revelation” comes from the Greek word apokalupsis, which literally means to bring out of hiding, out of obscurity. What this means then, is that what the rest of the Bible only hints at about Jesus, the book of Revelation makes completely clear; what the other books of the Bible shroud in mystery surrounding Jesus Christ, the book of Revelation makes unmistakeably visible. What it means, friends, is that if you want to get to know Jesus in a way you never have before, you’ve got to get into this particular book of the Bible.
But it also means something else. Notice where this revelation comes from: we are told that this revelation of Jesus Christ was given by Whom? – by God. You know, I have read a lot of commentaries on the book of Revelation, which state that it is impossible to correctly interpret and understand what Revelation is all about. Many scholars who have interpreted the Bible come to Revelation and throw up their hands, declaring that it can’t be deciphered. And you know what – they’re absolutely right. Despite the fact that this book is declared to be a crystal-clear picture of Jesus Christ, there are things in this book that none of us will ever understand, unless God Himself personally intervenes and makes us understand.
Friends, there is such a powerful message in this book, there are such tremendous blessings to be gained from this book, that God didn’t want us to take it lightly. And so He has made it clear, that if we are to gain the blessing this message offers, we have got to go to Him first. Yes, we can interpret certain prophetic timelines on our own, and we can explain certain symbols without much help; but if we want to see Jesus as He’s never been seen before – that’s something that can only happen as we let God lead.