Revelation: First Things First

When was the last time you perused the biblical book of Revelation? Have you taken a recent stroll back through your favorite and highlighted verses? Revisited the riveting imagery? The details? The inspiration?

It’s probably one of your favorite and oft-quoted books of the Bible, right?

Not.

At least not for me.

Seriously. I can’t read this apocalyptic book and keep a firm grasp on reality at the same time. It’s like getting lost in a foreign sci-fi movie without subtitles. I can’t figure out what’s going on here!

But because Revelation is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing for those who regard it, I keep going back into the pages of heavenly and horrifying images. Though I don’t comprehend it all, I know the words were written on purpose, with purpose, and with a message our Maker desired we understand.

The Good News

I have encouraging news. I’ve found a source that has given me the needed fresh eyes with which to look at the important and culminating prophetic message of Revelation. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent years trying to decipher the prophecies or maybe it’s because the Holy Spirit is opening our eyes and minds to the depths of God in these troubling days. But either way, Robert J. Morgan’s The 50 Final Events in World History has unlocked for me some of the puzzling passages and timelines of this last book John the Apostle penned. I recommend The 50 Final Events in World History to all who are even mildly curious about the book of Revelation.

I want to give Mr. Morgan full credit for his excellent work, but I also want to share with you my thoughts as I’m learning. If you aren’t able to purchase the book or can’t wait to dive into some fresh revelation, I’ll be writing a few blogs about my own epiphanies.

My First Highlight was a Doozie

The first statement I highlighted in my e-version of Mr. Morgan’s book is this: “The Intelligent Creator is an Infallible Communicator, and He has packed His Word with remarkable predictions like a woman packing remnants into her quilting chest.”

Granted the metaphor of quilts in a chest doesn’t resonate with me, but the truth of the statement is something I needed to wrap my head around. Historically, I would study or read through Revelation expecting to be perplexed, and often exhausted by chapter eight and the seventh seal. I knew so darn little about these passages and it seemed the typical women’s Bible studies and Sunday preachers found it hard to tackle. There’s also a lot of historical debate on how to decipher the book—scholars argue between literal or figurative interpretations. My point is that I expected to not understand much so I’d go through the book satisfied with the few morsels I gleaned here and there (Jesus now has a full white beard, The Great Tribulation is going to be horrifying, Antichrist loses in the end … ). I never expected God to reveal boat loads of understanding into my heart and mind.

You get out of Scripture what you go in looking for. Enter into a passage expecting trouble and you’ll probably find it. Go into the Word expecting to be blessed and you’ll likely find the blessing you seek.

But Robert Morgan’s statement about the Infallible Communicator caught my attention.

Infallible Communicator.

This means everything that is written in the entire Bible, including the last book, is perfect and without blemish. Every word, every scene is communicating something of great importance to the reader and hearer. And because we are like sheep who know our Shepherd’s voice, we should be able to take in the Revelation with peace, trust, and even joy when we encounter the grace parts.

God’s angel did not instruct the Apostle John to write the book of Revelation to draw us into dark corners. The sent angel instructed John to write the book for the purpose of shedding new light onto Christ. At the time John was banished to Patmos, the complete revelation of Christ’s personage, deity, and future reign had yet to be revealed. All that changed on that fateful day on the prison isle.

What amazing moments or even hours this must have been for our brother John. In his early years, he’d not only seen Christ in flesh form, but he’d walked with him, eaten with him, shared hardships and joys with our Savior.

Now on the island, the other disciples martyred for their faith, John is given a look into holy heaven, the coming days of God’s wrath, and Christ’s victory over not just death, but all evil. God sent an angel to give the rest of the story to John so that we, the body of Christ, could know our king and coming groom fully.

That makes the digesting of the book of Revelation a must for every Believer.

The Reason is Stated

There’s no doubt about the reason for this final book of the Word. John’s opening statement is clear: This book is written for further revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Here is Revelation 1:1-2

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show His bondservants [you and me], the things which must shortly take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond servant, John who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.”

Got it? This book was not written to confound you or scare you. It was written to reveal more about our Christ.

And if you’re looking to learn more about what the Lord is currently doing in the world and why, try my new Bible Brief: God’s Will, Unraveling the Mystery.

Back to Infallible Communicator

Getting back to my first highlight in The 50 Final Events in World History, I realized that my ability to understand the book of Revelation was not dependent upon my own capabilities, but upon God’s ability to communicate. As Morgan referred to God as the Infallible Communicator, I realized I had every tool I needed to understand and accept the last words of the Bible. After all, there were many verses I’d used in teaching over the years that underscored this truth. These verses include one of my favorites: 1 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.”

The words “all Scripture” include the words of Revelation.

As well, I was quickened to remember that according to our scribe John, it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to teach and guide us. In John 14:26 we read, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.” We can trust that God’s communications are perfect and that the Holy Spirit will guide the reader/hearer into understanding these perfect communications despite our human limitations. Our ability to experience revelation from God doesn’t therefore depend upon our education, our theological backgrounds, our ability to exposit, or our linguistic skills in Hebrew and Greek. Our hearing from God depends on His ability to speak and the Holy Spirit’s ability to reveal. The three-in-one trinity is able.

Now, instead of approaching the book with a heavy sigh, I approach Revelation with great expectation.

Who knew I’d get so much out of just one sentence in someone else’s book? Obvious, the Lord has chosen this time and this teacher, Robert J Morgan, to open my eyes to the fulfillment of Christ’s plans for mankind which includes you and me. I’m well into the book and well into my new study of Revelation and I am itching to share more. And I will. But after I have more time to digest, and support my conclusions with other Scripture.

But you go ahead—read through Revelation again expecting the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth and expecting to understand the message the Father has given you.

Until the next blog here … expect to experience God’s fresh revelation.

If I perish, I perish,

Laurie (L.G. Westlake)

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