Before we can dig into Book of Revelation we have to prepare ourselves. To do so, I will suggest three invitations that we need to understand before we can become good readers of Revelation. 1) We need to become good English students again, we need to familiarize ourselves with some basic rhetorical devices. While we believe the book of Revelation, as well as the Bible, to be authoritative texts to our Christian life, that doesn’t mean John didn’t use metaphors and similes, two-step progressions, numbers and numerical sequences, and a few other tools to convey to his readers those authoritative truths. 2) We need to become good History students again. Revelation is a book that has been widely interpreted in and by our culture. Many of the beliefs we have about Revelation come from movies and books like Left Behind or those popular Christian writers who are convinced they have discovered who the Anti-Christ is. (The word anti-Christ is not actually found in Revelation, but in 1st and 2nd John, and used to describe those people who taught Christ didn’t come in he flesh). All this is to say, there are many theories as to what Revelation means, for us to be the best students of Revelation we must be students of History and learn more about the context in which John wrote Revelation. 3) Lastly, we must be good students of Revelation. John gives us some invitations as we begin to study Revelation.
In this post, I want to give some invitations to you as we prepare to study Revelation. One will be from me and the rest are from John.
Invitation 1: Come and Study
This one is from me. Join us, or continue joining us, Wednesday nights as we work through this book together. Incorporate some of these blog posts into your personal study as you reflect on this book of the bible. While this blog helps me organize my thoughts, it is also to help you.
Invitation 2: Come and See
There is a big difference between being the people of God who live in Babylon and being Babylonians who happen to worship God on occasion. Revelation 1:3 reminds us that Those who read and hear are blessed. Those who allow Revelation to be the counter-cultural lens through which they view the world will find that kind of life that resonates with God’s purposes. That is the blessed life.
Invitation 3: Come and Worship
Everything in John’s world is falling apart. He is in exile. The church is scattered. Heaven should be panicking. But God is not in a frenzy. Christ is Lord. All of creation is being caught up in worship. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Invitation 4: Come and Witness
We are the lampstand of Christ. Some day the world will recognize what the saints already know – that the kingdom of God is at hand. Until then we have been raised up to be his witnesses.
Invitation 5: Come and Experience Christ
Christ has not left the lampstands to fend for themselves. He is living, present, and walking among the lampstands. For the seven (complete) churches there are these three sets of threes:
He is, and was, and is to come (1:4)
He is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth (1:5)
He loves us, frees us from our sins, and is making us to be a kingdom of priests serving his Father (1:5-6)