I’m excited to share my friend Melissa King with you today! She and I met at FT Polk several years ago. She will always be an Army wife friend of mine even if her family has moved on to bigger and better things. She is kind and wise and I’m thrilled to bring her thoughts on this word to you today!
In Miriam Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language 1828, Revelation is defined as such: noun from Latin reveletus, revelo
1. The act of disclosing or discovering to others what was before unknown to them; appropriately, the disclosure or communication of truth to men by God himself, or by his authorized agents, the prophets and apostles.
In Greek, the name for the New Testament book of Revelation (Apocalypsis) means “unveiling” or “disclosure” of something previously hidden or concealed. The prologue to the book of Revelation by John states, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. –Rev 1:1-2
Throughout the Bible, prophecies pointed to Christ’s birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. Revelation is like the capstone of these prophecies. In the metanarrative of life, Jesus is at the center of it all, from creation, to the fall, to redemption, to restoration. As Christians, we still await the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and that is all the more reason to read and study Revelation.
Many Christians feel intimidated by Revelation, for it is full of poetry, imagery, and symbolism. Even great biblical scholars still cannot agree on the true meaning behind many of its symbolic passages. The many schools of interpretation and millennial views may never change on this side of eternity, but the unknowns are not where our hearts should focus. Christ is in all of the visions, warnings, and promises of this book. He is the light shining in the darkness. I love how one of the Greek definitions of apokalypsis is “lighten”. For Jesus himself stated:
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life.”
And in Revelation 21:23 it is said,
“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it,
for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”
As complicated and intimidating as it may appear to readers, The book of Revelation shines a light of hope on our dark days of earthly dwelling. Here there is death, disease, pain, and loss, but when he returns these will be no more.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Last year I was a leader to a Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) class in Louisville, KY. We spent September to May studying the book of Revelation. I was encouraged every week as the beautiful truths emerged and were repeated in our study. “God is in Control. Victory has been won. It is finished. Do not fear! Christ is coming! Go and tell those who are dying, that they may live.”
Never once was I caught up and overwhelmed in the mysteriousness of the prophecy, because my focus was on Christ. If I keep my eyes on him, the darkness of this world cannot overcome. Do not fear the book of Revelation. Speaking and hearing its words come with a blessing.
“Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy,
and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”
Today, Christians have the gift of the Holy Spirit given to us to shine daily revelation on God’s word as we study the Bible. Have you ever had this experience studying a passage? You read, pray, listen to it and hear sermons on it. You look up words and cross-references. Then, by the work of the Holy Spirit, you see it. A truth is illuminated in your heart and mind as if over the waves you see the beacon of a lighthouse. As you draw nearer, its truth is truer; so much so, that you adjust the course of your life to bring you closer to it. The process of us even being drawn to God’s word in the first place is God’s revealing power to us.
Believing the gospel news of Jesus as your savior is a revelation, for it is something previously unknown to you, revealed by God himself.
One poetic example is in the beginning of the story of The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. Christian, the main character has read his Book and learned that he is condemned to die and be judged. He is in anguish not knowing where to turn or what to do. All seems dark.
Evangelist gives Christian a letter in which is written, “Flee from the coming wrath.”
Christian’s first response is to ask, “Where must I flee?”
Evangelist points to a wide place and asks him, “Do you see that narrow Gate?” “No,” replied the man.
To which Evangelist then asks him, “Do you see that shining light over there? Keep that light in your eye and go up directly toward it, then you will see the gate.”
Early in our Christian walk the weight of our former sins feels like such a burden, but Jesus has overcome and daily sanctifies us and guides us towards the hope of his return. Though our future is unclear to us, we have the Light showing us the Way.
Is your hope found in Christ’s return? As you read and study God’s Word this year, will you keep your eyes on the light of Christ and open your heart to see his revelations to you about himself in His word? My prayer for all Messy Desk readers this year is that God’s revelation will bring change and blessing to you.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of REVELATION in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might”
Ephesians 1: 17-19