“Blessed is the one who reads 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.” (Rev. 1:3)
I am not a theologian, and I don’t play one on TV. I never went to Bible school or claimed to have an in-depth understanding of the totality of the Bible. I am a sinner saved by Grace. Those are my only qualifications. We are asked to read the Bible because it is God’s voice speaking to us, and we are told that those who read will be blessed and fed by the Holy Word of God. His Word is active and alive and it’s only when we open its pages will we feel the closest to our Holy Father.
That being said, how many of us wanted to shave off Revelation from the end of the book because man, it seems complicated! John saw things his mind could only comprehend in the Spirit and attempted to use layman terms to describe what He saw. It is probably similar to us trying to use age-appropriate vocabulary to explain to a two-year-old the gist of quantum physics. At least that is how I feel when I read Revelation. The above scripture, however, didn’t say “Blessed is the Bible scholar” or “Blessed is the theologian,” it says, “Blessed is the ONE” (emphasis mine).
Lately, God has been stirring in me to read His Word and specifically the book of Revelation. He has given me a peace to enter into its pages and not stress about what my human brain can’t fully comprehend. You and I are asked to read it anyway. I am going to blog my journey through Revelation, and I would love to hear your insights and thoughts to your understanding of this Book. My heart is eager to learn what my mind is trying to understand.
When I opened to the first chapter, I felt for John. I imagined how scared, exhilarated, and bewildered John must have felt when Jesus called upon him. Being exiled to the island of Patmos, John was probably finding his “new normal” and going about his business. Without warning, John instantly transitioned into the Spirit. Turning around, he saw his Savior unlike any other time he saw him before: hair like white wool, eyes blazing fire, bronze feet glowing in a furnace, voice like rushing waters, and a double-edged sword coming out of his mouth (Rev. 1:14-16). No wonder John fell to the ground at his feet.
Jesus doesn’t mince words, either; He gets right to the point. John is asked to write down what he hears and sees (thank you, John, for trying your best so we can better understand) and his first entry targeted the seven churches.
I read through Jesus’ encouragement and admonishment of what these seven churches excelled and failed to do and determined Jesus really needed these churches to shape up or ship out, so to speak. After my third time reading through the letters, I realized He was also speaking to US! Our Bible’s practicality reaches far past the copy-write date, and this is no exception.
I heard a scary statistic at church a few weeks ago. We are one generation away from our churches closing their doors because as our children exit Sunday service with their backs to the front door, that is where they are remaining. We have an exodus of people leaving the physical building of the church and its people. How could this be?
If Jesus called someone else into the Spirit today and had them write letters to us, I have a feeling they would sound very similar to what was spoken in the letters to the seven churches. I am going to read through each letter slowly, and pray for God’s wisdom and understanding.
And so my journey continues…