Welcome to my new series!
I invite you to follow me on a journey through the last book of the Bible – Revelation. It’s an amazing book to read, full of spectacular visions of God, events in heaven, events on earth, angels, demons and men. Some are crystal clear, some are profoundly mysterious.
This journey is more a journey of seeking inspiration than of understanding. I have read some diverse interpretations of the visions and don’t want to weigh in on those debates. Instead, I have looked for “plain meaning” and tried to learn “lessons for earth” from these awesome “glimpses of heaven“!
Revelation 1:1-11 NIV
The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw – that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
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.
John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’ and ‘every eye will see him, even those who pierced him’; and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’ So shall it be! Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’
I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.’
John began writing by setting the scene. He had been sent into exile and was living in isolation from the persecuted church. But he was not isolated from Jesus! In exile, he saw the exalted, glorified Jesus and a series of spectacular visions.
I wonder how John felt when sent off into exile. Was his ministry over? Would he spend his final years in obscurity on a lonely island? Had the enemies of the church successfully “shut him down”?
It may have seemed so – but it wasn’t. Instead, Jesus used this time to reveal himself to John in even greater ways, and gave him a profoundly important task. John got to see Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and wrote what could be regarded as “the grand finale” of the Bible!
We can learn a vital “life lesson” from this – we’re not done until God says we’re done! In places of “exile” – when we feel “shut down” or “shut out”, God can do profoundly significant things!