Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 30, 2011

a blessing just for reading

“It’s complicated!”  “I can’t understand it!”  “I just don’t get prophecy.”  These are the words of many Christians after reading the book of Revelation.  And if you took a poll of some preachers, you would hear the same thing.  This last book of the Bible can be daunting since it is a form of literature called apocalyptic, which means an unfolding, unveiling revelation.  The book uses symbols and imagery to reveal its secrets.  As we finish our first quarter of reading with this challenging book, I will now attempt to initiate a friendlier approach for you toward Revelation.  After all, we will be walking through it three more times this year.  Let me give you a little insight…

The book was written by John – yes, the apostle John who was the youngest of the 12.  He was now an old man in his 80’s, the last of the living apostles and the leader of the churches in Turkey.  He had been exiled to the island of Patmos by the Roman emperor Domitian.  There he lived in a cave and slept on the hard ground with a stone for a pillow (an extreme punishment for a man of his age – and all for testifying for Christ).  John was not martyred like the others, yet he suffered greatly on this island, his days spent doing back-breaking work under the watchful guard of his Roman keepers.  But then something extraordinary happened – Jesus himself came to John.  Now the last time John saw Jesus, he was a young man of 33 years old.  But on Patmos, John was privileged and chosen to see our Christ in his full glory.

Revelation 1: 10-11a
I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book…

When John says he was “in the spirit,” it means he was no longer functioning in the normal bounds of space and time; he was moving in the spirit realm.  He moved upward to see things in Heaven and forward to see things in the future.  If that is not fascinating enough for you, think about this – every time John receives a vision, he is told to “write it down.”  I don’t think that was a reflection of John’s age (although if I don’t write it down, it’s gone from my mind)!  I think it was a reflection of the importance of the message.  And the most telling thought of how important this book is can be found in the first chapter:

Revelation 1:3
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

This is the only book in the Bible that has a blessing promised just for reading it!!

Revelation tells us that Jesus is coming back . . .
– To take His church to be with him
– To judge the world
– To rule the world

So let’s see…if I read this book, God promises me a blessing.  Plus there is a crown in Heaven for those who faithfully look toward the second coming of Christ.

Have I changed your view a little?

Do not fear this book – It has a great ending!

SPECIAL NOTE: The New Testament’s great ending brings about a great beginning here at Journey onWord.  This week we finish our first of four reads through the New Testament.  Whether you are new to the Journey site, or have been reading through the New Testament faithfully with us for the first three months of 2010, April 1st is an invitation to begin anew.  Check the Journey site, or look for the weekly emails sent each Saturday for that week’s reading schedule.  If you don’t already receive the weekly email, click the “Subscribe” link on the Journey site to have it sent automatically.  If you haven’t read along yet, pick your favorite translation and join us.  If you read faithfully in the first quarter, think about picking a different translation and join us again.  Consuming God’s Word never returns void.  At Journey onWord, we believe firmly in the power of scripture, and make it our highest priority to encourage you to be in the Word.  Begin with us again in Matthew, and get ready to see God move in your life.

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