Friday, March 8, 2013

Afraid Of Reading It?

The graphic is the Angers Tapestry, created in the fourteenth century and considered by a French historian  "one of the great artistic interpretations of the revelation of Saint John, and one of the masterpieces of French cultural heritage". Click on the graphic to see its story on Wikipedia.

Wednesday night we had a substitute teacher – our pastor left that morning for a tour of Israel – and his lesson was on the first chapter of Revelation. He made a comment that I’ve heard before, from loved ones who have a firm foundation in Bible study and love for our Lord:

“I was afraid of the book of Revelation.”

I must admit, I have been, too. The “rest of the story” tells of physical wars, not just spiritual ones. It tells of hunger, pain and death. We would prefer not to know, or even think about, this. The very first chapter, however, promises one thing that no other book in the Bible does:

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Revelation 1:3)

The rest of that first chapter simply describes the who, what, when and why of any news story:
The Who comes down to two characters – the writer is an imprisoned John:

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:9)

The author, the speaker in the book, is:

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:8)

Though it may lay before you as a physically open book, there is as much unrevealed as there is a revelation. It reminds me of what Peter wrote:

Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (1 Peter 1:12)

Much was written of the Messiah, yet He remained unrecognized by so many that He was crucified – which was part of God’s plan.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7-8)

Oh, yes, angels would have desired to look into this! Yet, we take a step back when we are given the Revelation (there’s no ‘s’ on that, either – it’s not plural) spoken by God, experienced by and written by John.

Have we not heard – do we not believe:

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (Luke 2:10)

Take time to be blessed by the reading of this book.

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