I can’t believe we’ve arrived at the final book! Here is the hope of the future of God’s kingdom as we’ve seen foreshadowed all throughout scripture. I’m glad we did Ezekiel right before so we could have these same symbols and promises fresh in our minds.
Here are the first and second Bible Project videos on Revelation. These were super helpful for me. Lord knows I’ve heard a lot interpretations of Revelation in my life (not to say these guys are the final authority). I hope we can keep in mind the themes of perseverance in persecution and allegiance to the Lamb who was slain, over Babylon; personified by wealth, dominance and military pride. Keeping in mind Ephesians 6:12.
“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Let’s dive in to the first two chapters. I love this initial description of Jesus:
“The faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood–and He made us to be a Kingdom, priests to His God and Father–to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1:5-6)
Jesus is our glorious king, who loves us and invites us in to be His priests! What a mind boggling offer.
Once, I read over these passages to the churches and pulled out the directives. He follows a pattern of
- Describing Himself by way of introduction
- Extending understanding about their circumstances
- Identifying their pitfalls
- Giving directions
- Promising life to those who have ears to hear and overcome
The first directive to Ephesus addresses pride. “Remember from where you have fallen.” The second to Smyrna addresses love of security. “Do not fear.” The third to Pergamum addresses adding perversion to worship (you can read about the Nicolaitans). “Repent.” The fourth to Thyatira continues in the same thread. Old pagan worship habits die hard.
We start to see the personalities of darkness take shape. This helps to see and identify what is true light. When embarking on our mission as priests of Christ’s kingdom, we must be aware of the contrary things which will try to seep in.
As a final thought, I’d like to point out 2:13.
“I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.”
Christ’s compassion is overwhelming. It reiterates the sentiments in Hebrews 5 about He can sympathize with our weaknesses. He knows the earth can be a horrible place, because we share it with Satan and his fellow bullies. But the message of Revelation is for those under persecution, bringing a resounding I love you, HOLD ON. It’s not going to be forever.
What stands out to you from these chapters and video overview today?