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End Times: Revealing the Book of Revelation
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants the things which must shortly take place; and he sent and signified them by his angel to his servant John.” (Revelation 1:1)
What is the purpose and specific prophetic message this verse brings us today?
In Revelation 1:1 we see that the Book of Revelation is given to the followers of Jesus Christ to “reveal” something that will soon happen. God the Father gave this revelation to His Son Jesus to convey to His servants (all who have followed Him; or will ever follow Him) to warn them of the things that will soon come upon the earth.
Because God has a much greater perspective of time than we do, the word “soon” refers to this particular time as it refers to the entire history of the world. Therefore, most biblical scholars agree that the beginning of what we call the “End Times” began when Jesus became flesh and was born into the world, and will culminate when he returns.
This extended time frame was not understood by His followers at first. They assumed that Christ would return in their lifetime. However, as time went on, they eventually came to the conclusion that End Times would play out for a longer period of time than they had originally imagined.
As a result, they also realized the importance of recording everything they experienced about the life and teachings of Jesus so that it could be preserved for those who would be alive when he actually returned.
This was the reason why they were commissioned by God to create the holy Bible. The entire Word of God, including the Book of Revelation, serves as a record of the complete story of God’s provision for the eternal salvation of mankind; Genesis to Revelation.
Jesus sent his angelic messenger to tell John, the disciple and servant of Jesus Christ, the meaning of this revelation. This is the same John who established the record in the Word of God in the Gospel of John, which includes the testimony of Jesus and the report of all that John personally saw concerning the life, death, resurrection, and Word of Christ.
Revelation 1:3 promises that those who read and hear the words of this prophecy and adhere to the things that are written in the pages of this book will be blessed (will be given the favor of God and will benefit from receiving these words) because “the time is within reach.”
How does God intend to benefit us in the End Times by reading this historical prophetic book?
Elsewhere in Scripture, we are given a clue through an illustration describing the end-time process as a “woman in labor” about to give birth. This is a picture of intense, ongoing waves of painful change and periods of rest until the very end when Jesus Christ suddenly returns.
The book of Revelation contains blessings that will be revealed to us over time as we read the words of this prophecy—and continue to read them. It is necessary to continue reading the Book of Revelation because the “revelation” was given in symbolic form and this message was designed to require careful interpretation over the years, comparing it to historical events as they unfolded.
God is basically saying, “Just read it.”
Even though we may not fully understand what we are reading, God wants us to read it in order to gather the pieces of the puzzle that will eventually be put together in the End Times.
Even the disciple John did not understand the vision that was given to him.
Since this was a futuristic vision involving things that John did not know, it is clear that he tried to describe it in terms of things that he saw and did not understand, such as the type of warfare and military equipment used, the appearance of mouthed insects and with a tail that could belch fire.
The book of Revelation was clearly designed by the Creator and original Author to be covered up until a certain time in history when all will be revealed.
As time went on, things on Earth changed. Humanity would be introduced to the players of worldly conquests, various religious and political powers, and new inventions. Therefore, the blessing will come when this information is collected and compiled to form this important End Time message.
Even today, when we are still trying to understand the true meaning of the Book of Revelation, this process of “revealing” is carefully timed and directed by the Spirit of God to match the actual End Time scenario, so that believers will be able to pinpoint the time in which we live and begin realizing how far this countdown process really is.
In 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 2, we find a warning about “mighty deception” and another warning given by Jesus is found in Matthew 24 about a great “deception” – both taking place in the End Times. Only those who faithfully continue to personally feed on the whole word of God, and thus have the Spirit of God dwelling in them, will be able to correctly interpret the Book of Revelation and correctly compare what is written with what is actually happening.
Personal Bible study is out of the question. The stakes are too high to risk being swayed by the opinions of mere men and religious icons. We must accept this responsibility ourselves and be personally nourished in spirit by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
If we don’t listen to Him, He won’t listen to us. It’s so simple.
For this reason, Jesus gives us another warning at the beginning of the Book of Revelation, chapter 2:4-5:
“Nevertheless, I have something against you, because you have forsaken your first love. Remember therefore whence you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I will come quickly to you and take your candlestick from its place, unless you repent.”
Those who have left their first love, who do not remember, repent and do the first works, will be removed from their (supposed) relationship with Christ. Regardless of what we believe about the eternal security of the professing believer, we must all admit that this warning from the mouth of Jesus sounds extremely serious and should not be taken lightly.
Most professing Christians believe that leaving our first love has to do with our love for Jesus, but that is only part of the interpretation, which depends on a number of worldly definitions of what “love” really is. Jesus said that there is an imitation of “love” that calls Him “Lord” but is not actually willing to give Him priority or honestly acknowledge Him as Lord at all. (Luke 6:46)
The rest of the real interpretation is found in the “Hidden Manna” throughout the Bible, as God defines these “first works” as the most important thing in life.
This warning is given at the beginning of the Book of Revelation because unless we do the “first works” we will not be able to rightly divide the Word of God or accurately interpret what is written about the End Times in the Book of Revelation.
Since the Word of God in Ephesians 2:8 clearly states that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works, the “first works” mentioned in Revelation 2:4-5 cannot refer to any physical works, but to specific works of the spirit which experienced only by true believers; it is not necessary to be saved, but it is evident when one is saved.
These are works that involve acknowledging the preeminence of God and feeding on the “Hidden Manna.” They take place as a result of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and testify to our true relationship with Him.
It is this “Hidden Manna” that protects us from the great deception and enables the Book of Revelation to be accurately interpreted and revealed to the children of God so that we can overcome it and endure to the end.
“Repent, or I will come to you quickly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth (Word of God). He who has ears, hear what the Spirit says to the churches, to him who overcomes I will give him to eat of the hidden manna and I will give him a white stone and on the stone a new name written that no one knows except the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:16-17)
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