There are many passages which spark controversy over their meaning, and the book of Revelation is arguably the most controversial. On first reading it can be very difficult to understand. However, many of the symbols can be understood, and many of them are drawn from both the OT, as well as the NT.
I love the book and have studied it often. It’s worth sitting down and reading in its entirety to get the overall sense of the book. I’m reminded of what our Spanish teacher told us regarding our attempts to learn a new language – he talks to us mainly in Spanish which is very challenging, but he told us ‘not to try and understand every tiny little miniscule word’ as Spanish does not always translate well into English! So it is with the book of Revelation -we don’t need to understand every minute detail, but the overall sense of what John is trying to put across.
So we start with the author, John, exiled on the island of Patmos, an island used by the Romans as a place to banish criminals, who were forced to work hard labour in the mines and quarries. During his exile, John was given an incredible ‘vision’ of world events and asked to write down what he had seen, the things which were, and the things which would take place (v.19). So we end up with a book of incredible visions, pictures, and symbols, some of which can be understood and some which are simply almost too impossible to understand.
What’s clear in this opening chapter is that John saw the risen Lord Jesus – Amen!
Bart Millard from Mercy Me wrote "I Can Only Imagine" after the death of his father as a way to help himself heal. This song is one of the most powerful songs I think I have ever sung which conveys a sense of the mystery and awe of being in the presence of God.
John, upon turning to see Jesus (v.12-16), was so overwhelmed that he fainted (my interpretation) and fell to the ground as if dead (v.17). And now come some of the most wonderful verses in scripture: Jesus placed His right hand upon John and says ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and Death.’ (v.17-18).
JESUS IS ALIVE – HALLEJUJAH
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Prayer: Meditate on this wonderful opening chapter. What is it going to be like when you finally stand before Jesus in the throne room of Heaven? I can only imagine…..Amen.