(20 verses, 2:05 to read)
What I am about to READ
In a time of persecution, the Lord reveals Himself to His people through a vision to John to comfort them with the truth that He has not and will not leave or forsake them.
1-3: Prologue — the purpose of the revelation of Jesus Christ to John.
4-8: The identification of the author of the letter and the recipients.
9-20: John’s location on Patmos identified and the first revelation recounted.
– The apostle John, one of the sons of Zebedee, receives this revelation sometime around 95 A.D. during the later years of Emperor Domitian’s reign, which was, to say the least, not friendly to the Christian faith. So John calls himself a “brother and partner in the tribulation…and the patient endurance…”
– Revelation can sometimes seem like a daunting book or even a somewhat discomforting book to read because of the misinterpretations that have cropped up especially in the past couple of hundred years regarding the last days. Hopefully these meditations will lead the reader to understand and rejoice that, as the first verse of the letter says, this book is all Christ Jesus and the comfort of the Gospel for those who believe in Him.
– The theme of comfort is there from the beginning as the seven churches of Asia (and we Christians as members of the same Body) are reminded that God Himself, the One Who has freed us from our sin, loves us and stands in the midst of us and is for us contrary to what our earthly eyes may sometimes see. This was surely a powerfully comforting message for the Christians who first received it as they were being harshly persecuted “on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (verse 9).
The following helpful “Principles of Interpretation” were drafted by Rev. Matt Moss, now pastor of Immanuel and St. Paul Lutheran Churches in Redlyn, IA:
Principles of Interpretation
1- Scripture interprets Scripture —> The simple texts help interpret the difficult texts (not vice versa)
2- The Rule of the Faith (cannot come up with an interpretation that disagrees with this)
3- Jesus Christ is the center of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation
4- Different literary genres require different readings: Letters, poetry, prophecy, Apocalyptic
5- Understanding literal, symbolic and apocalyptic forms of speech
6- The use of the Old Testament to understand the meaning of numbers/symbols in the New Testament (saturated with the language and content of the Old Testament and apocalyptic imagery)
7- The intended meaning by the inspired author is the proper interpretation
+Eschatology, end-times are now: from Jesus’ ascension till his return
+Revelation cannot be put into a neat chronological order
+Context is crucial- verse- paragraph- chapter- book
8- The proper distinction between Law and Gospel
9- The new Israel from Romans chapter 9-11 is the Christian Church – Jewish and Gentile
10- Humility – when we don’t know what a verse means, admit it and move on to the next verse!
Dear Father in heaven, have mercy on us poor sinners. In the midst of earthly life, though the snares of death surround us, constantly remind us of your love for us in your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ . In His holy name. Amen.
Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/dailybiblemeditation/
-Pastor Weslie Odom