I want to be immersed in Scripture. I want to my thoughts to be saturated in the word of God. The book of Revelation helps me with that.
Revelation has 404 verses. In those 404 verses, there are 518 references to earlier scripture. In these 518 references to earlier scripture there is not a single direct quotation. The book is immersed in scripture.
I also want to be blessed. I want to walk in the will of God and the blessing of God. The book of Revelation helps me with that as well.
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.
– Revelation 1:3
Here we have a double blessing: 1) on the one who has the ability and courage to read the book aloud and 2) on those who gather to listen and obey the message.
This is the first of 8 posts looking at the Revelation 1-3. I pray that you are immersed in Scripture. I pray that you are blessed by God.
What type of book is this?
Many people avoid Revelation because they don’t know what to do with it. We can help ease that fear a great bit by answering the question, what type of book is this?
The opening verses of Revelation indicate it to be three kinds of literature:
Revelation (1:1): The first verse speaks of the revelation of Jesus Christ. “Revelation” is an English translation of the Greek word apokalypsis. Apocalyptic literature is driven by powerful images and symbols. Apocalyptic literature was well known by the original readers of the Book of Revelation. They would have read the images and symbols and recognized what they were reading. Apocalyptic literature is commonplace in our Bible. See Ezekiel and Daniel.
Prophecy (1:3): Describes the book as a prophecy intended to be read aloud in the context of Christian worship. God speaks to us and we hear what he says. Prophets are not future tellers. The prophet is the person who declares, “thus says the Lord.” The prophet brings God’s word and insists that it be heard here and now. Notice the repition of “soon” in chapter one. This word from God is to be obeyed now.
Letter (1:4-6): Informs us that Revelation is intended to be letter. Most importantly, Revelation is a letter written to specific people in specific situations. Do not forget that the entire book of Revelation was written on a papyrus scroll and taken to each of the seven churches. All seven churches would have read the entire scroll. We are now reading their mail and benefiting from the content.
What should be our response to this book?
Here’s something to chew on:
“The intent of Revelation is to put us on our knees before God in worship and to set the salvation-shaping words of God in motion in our lives. We are always trying to use scripture for our purposes: scripture uses us.”
– Eugene Peterson, Reversed Thunder, pg 24
I share this because it’s good and because it also serves as a bit of a rebuke to me. Notice how I started this post: I want to be immersed in scripture. I want to be blessed. Revelation is not about me. It’s about Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation should drive me to worship.
Give me some themes!
We’ll only study Revelation 1-3 but I encourage you to read the entirety of the letter. When you do you’ll find some themes repeated over and over again.
Three Themes of Revelation:
- God, ruling from his divine throne, is the sovereign Lord of history.
- Jesus, as the sacrificial lamb, is victorious over Satan and forces of evil in the world.
- The saints who overcome will receive eternal rewards.
Allow your reading of the book of Revelation to lead you to deep, sincere worship.