Revelation 1:1-3 Those who take heed by reliving the life of Jesus have no fear

Revelation 1:1-3 Those who take heed by reliving the life of Jesus have no fear

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Background

The Book of Revelation is the only book where God literally “dictates” the words through visions to the author. While John was instructed to write down what was shown to him, he was also instructed what he should omit (see Revelation 10:4). The Book of Revelation is written with the purpose of encouraging the church to persevere amid the tribulations to be a blessing to the world. By allowing Christ to live vicariously through me, I do not fear sudden loss or disasters. But I live with the assurance of eternal blessing and glory. Today’s devotion reminds us that those who take heed by reliving the life of Jesus have no fear.

Observation

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place.

The word “revelation” (apokalypsis in Greek) means “a disclosure”. The Apostle John was appointed as messenger to the church and to humanity at large. The contents of the book disclose that which must necessarily (dei in Greek) take place. By using the word “dei” which means “necessity of happening”, God stresses the purposes behind the impending events rather than the events themselves. Therefore, it is pertinent each one discover God’s purposes for himself and not be overtaken by the terrifying events prophesied. And if we understand and obey, we will experience blessing amid the tribulations.

He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

God made known this seemingly trivial detail: the mode and sequence of His communication.

God -> Jesus Christ -> Angel -> John -> Church -> Humanity

The above protocol shows that God is the source and prime orchestrator of all earthly events. And Jesus Christ, being seated at God’s right hand is given all authority to bring the events to fruition. The angel traverses heaven and earth to bring the message of Jesus Christ to humanity. After the angel has delivered the message, it is left to God’s bond-servants and the church to communicate it to the rest of humanity. The communication protocol establishes in no uncertain terms the importance of the angelic ministry to the church in the last days. Those who do not accept the use of angels as messengers but insist on God speaking directly to them will pass up on this divine privilege.

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

What then is the purpose for the Book of Revelation? It is so that humanity may respond to the message and be blessed. The purpose of Revelation is not to terrorise men, but to encourage the church to persevere and be a blessing to the world. What are the blessings reserved for those who heed the things that are written in it?

  • Those who take heed will be sealed with a mark of protection from the tribulations (see Revelation 2:10, 7:3).
  • Those who take heed will rule with God and be given the crown of life (see Revelation 2:9b-10).
  • God will guide and wipe every tear from the eyes of the faithful (see Revelation 7:17).
  • God will cause the faithful to inherit all things (see Revelations 21:7). At the same time, God will ensure the eventual fall of the devil and his followers (see Revelation 17:14, 18:21, 20:10, 21:8).

How do we heed the things which are written in it? We are to perceive the events as already coming upon us (“for the time is near”) and to live like Christ on a daily basis. Many will try to predict the timing of the events. Such have missed the point. For Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matthew 24:36).

Truth

Those who take heed by reliving the life of Jesus have no fear.

Paul said, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22). And Jesus said, “Follow me… Repent for the kingdom is at hand.” Jesus is calling us to relive His life amid great tribulations because the kingdom is here. We do not fear sudden disaster for our names are written in heaven. And having acquired this assurance we begin to live not for ourselves but for the salvation of the world.

How do I take heed of the prophecies?

By intentionally reliving the very life of Jesus everyday. In the process, Jesus lives vicariously through me as I face daily temptations and challenges. And I sense His emotions and struggles as I go through life. At the same time, I am uncannily aware of my boundless capacity to influence people and change the course of their history. I am no longer bound by my human limitations as I begin to discover and experiment with my divine abilities. Having acquired a divine purpose, I no longer allow the petty idiosyncrasies of people to affect me. Therefore, I am not concerned about wealth, power or physical comfort, neither do I feel trapped by other people’s opinions and expectations.

How do we derive a sense of urgency?

The sense of urgency is not derived from the ominous prophecies but from the fact that countless souls are being swept into hell. As we speak, many are already living a hellish existence of incessant quarrels in their families. And their souls are being tormented by all kinds of fear, despair, bitterness and anger.

What is God’s purpose for the Book of Revelation?

Using the Book of Revelation, God purposed to strengthen the believer’s faith in Him. The prophecies assure us of God’s protection and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. As the prophecies unfold through world events, we become even more confident that God is in full control. When Jesus drove the merchants from the temple, Jesus said, “Destroy this temple (His body), and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19). When Jesus was crucified and resurrected on the third day, His disciples remembered what He said. As a result, the disciples’ faith in Jesus and the scriptures was strengthened. Similarly, as we observe the prophecies unravel through world events, we become strengthened to walk the narrow path to fulfil our calling.

Application

Are you more concerned for your place in the kingdom than for the salvation of the world? If the answer is yes, it is time to repent and heed the calling of Jesus.

Dear Lord, I now commit myself to allow You to live vicariously through me. I thank you for the privilege to manifest Your love, wisdom and power. And in so doing, I may divert their paths from darkness to light. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.


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