“One despairing commentator said that there are as many riddles in Revelation as there are words, and another that the study of Revelation either finds or leaves the reader mad” (William Barclay, The Revelation of John, Vol. 1, p. 1).
Since the time John wrote this letter to the churches in Asia Minor there has been a lot of confusion and fear surrounding the “Book of Revelation”. Note that the “founder of the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther, would have denied Revelation a place in the New Testament” (ibid). Often people choose to ignore this book in the Bible because of its troublesome message.
When John received this message from God, a promise was given, “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, NIV).
Furthermore, as John starts receiving the first vision he turns to see who is speaking to him and he is paralyzed with fear! John describes this scene as follows:
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:17-18, NIV).
At this moment John is terrified, and you might be terrified by this book of the Bible as well, but you don’t have to be afraid. There is a blessing found in this book. Notice how Ranko Stefanovic describes the purpose of Revelation,
“if we understand the messages of Revelation as a whole, we will discover its central theme: Jesus Christ—who is the focal point of Revelation—and His promise to be with His people as the future unfolds” (Plain Revelation, p. 1).
As we start this new sermon series on The Seven Churches, do not be afraid. The Book of Revelation has Jesus at the center of it all. When the world seems like it is falling apart know that Jesus is there with us. When it seems as though we are about to lose it all, remember—The Lamb Wins! And if you accept Jesus as your Savior you win too.
Let us learn from this important book how the Lamb wins and how we will enjoy this victory throughout eternity.
Grace and Peace,
– Pastor Geraldo