The Revelation -- from Jesus Christ
which God gave him –
to show his servants –
what must soon take place.
(NIV – 2011 edition)
Introduction to Revelation
A Focus on Jesus Christ
In Revelation, Jesus is portrayed as the great High Priest.a He is seen walking among the seven churches.b He holds the seven spirits of God in his hand.c He says, "Whoever has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."d He is also seen as the Lambe -- and the Lionf -- as Lord of lords -- and the King of kings.g
He ministers to every need of his churchh -- he rebukes any wrong-doing,i he speaks encouraging words to his people,j and he provides abundant blessings for them.k He invites everyone to come, and to those who accept 'his gracious invitation,' he gives eternal life.l
Jesus invites you and I to come, saying, "It doesn't matter who you are, if you want to come, come and take the free gift of the water of life." (Rev 22:16, 17 -- PET*) Another translation reads: "I, Jesus ... give you this testimony for the churches"..."Let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life." (NIV)
(*Plain English Translation)
We catch glimpses of the templem and of what is going on inside.
We see the High Priest,n
and we see his priests,o
we see seven golden lampstands,p
and the slain lamb,r
a messenger with a golden censer standing at the golden altar of incense,s
we see the ark of his covenant,t
and we see the ministry that is being carried out in this most sacred place.u
Good verses Evil
We see the Holy City, the New Jerusalemv -- and in contrast, we see Babylon the Great.w One is a beautiful and holy city, the other a fallen domain.
Of Babylon, it is said, "Come out of her, my people,x so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues." For "Fallen! Fallen is 'Babylon the Great!' She has become a dwelling place for demons."y
Of Jerusalem, it is said, "Look! God's dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."z
Who is Worthy of Worship?
We note the contrast between 'the great dragon' who was cast down,cc and 'the Lamb' who was worshiped.dd What is the current situation? Today, both Jesus and Satan are worshiped. Whether we find it strange or not, ‘the god of this world’ is receiving worship right now. Rev 13:4 plainly states: ‘People worshiped the dragon.’
The dragon (Satan) has not yet received his final judgement -- as revealed to us in Rev 20. Today, he exerts his influence. Right now, he receives worship. But when the great dragon is cast down, the Lamb and the Lord God Almighty alone will be worshiped.
Pick Your Team
In Revelation, we discover the contrast between 'the mark of the beast,'aa and 'the seal of God.'bb In the final reckoning, there can only be two groups -- there will be no middle ground. A person will be found to be aligned with the beast -- or with God. We will be marked with ‘the mark of the beast,’ or sealed with ‘the seal of God.’
How do we identify which group we ourselves are in? Our personal beliefs and our actions do this for us. It is only natural that ‘we choose to follow what we believe.’ And these choices are confirmed by our lifestyle and our actions.
Our lifestyle clearly identifies our inner qualities. And our ‘words and actions’ rather easily assign us to the right group. The choices which you and I make today, and the ongoing myriad of choices that we make throughout our lives -- will determine which group we have chosen to be in. If we continually make the same choices ‘over and over again’ our established habits will be reinforced.
We can always change our minds. Notably, we can change our direction and our allegiance today -- YES TODAY. But note: This must come first -- we must first make ‘a conscious decision to change’ in order to bring about any change of direction in our lives.
The Book of Revelation concentrates on two important points. It reveals notable events that will affect everyone’s future. And its message calls for decisions of loyalty.
"Let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life" (Rev 22:17).
The Book of Revelation offers many blessings -- seven in all.ee The first proclaims, "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it, and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near." (Rev 1:3)
With this blessing, let us begin.
This footnote shows the relevant verses in Revelation.
a 1:13, 18 __ b 2:1 and 1:20 __ c 3:1 __ d 3:22 __ e 5:6 __ f 5:5 __ g 17:14, 19:16 __ h 2:1—2 __ i 2:4 __ j 3:5 __ k 1:5—6 __ l 22:16—17, 21:3—4, 22:3—5 __ m 11:1, 15:8, 16:17 __ n 1:12—13, 18 __ o 1:6, 5:10, 20:6 __ p 1:12—13 __ q 6:9, 11:1 __ r 5:6 __ s 8:3—4 __ t 11:19 __ u 1:12—20, 8:3—5, 15:8 __ v 21:10—11 __ w 17:5 __ x 18:4—8 __ y 18:2 __ z 21:3—5 __ aa 13:15—17 __ bb 7:2—3 __ cc 12:9, 20:1—2, 20:10 __ dd 5:11—12 __ ee 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7, 22:14.
A Commentary by Graham Düll
Author: Graham Düll, Dubbo, NSW, Australia
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