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Psalm 23 is probably the most cherished chapter in the Bible to many of us. Why would it not be? David starts it with “The Lord is my Shepherd, I Shall Not Want”. David then go on to speak about God’s protection over him even in the most dangerous situations. David writes “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies”. The Psalm is so comforting, so reassuring, so loving.
The book of Revelation has a similar purpose like Psalm 23. It is a book of comfort, reassurance and love from Jesus to the Church at a time when the Church was going through fierce persecution, torture, and death at the hands of the Roman empire. Many don’t know this because Revelation is usually taught when there is a crises like the war in Ukraine, and the focus is on the angels, and wars, and monsters.
Revelation was written to comfort Christians not to scare us. Fierce Roman persecution started barely twenty years after Jesus resurrected, around the year AD 50. This continued up to the year AD 100; Rome was ruled over this fifty year period by Emperors Nero, then Vespassian, then Titus, then Domitian – these men were brutal. It was during this painful time that the book of Revelation was written.
Revelation 1:1 (The Living Bible) says: “This book unveils some of the future activities soon to occur in the life of Jesus Christ. God permitted him to reveal these things to his servant John in a vision; and then an angel was sent from heaven to explain the vision’s meaning.”
Revelation 1:2-3 continues: “John wrote it all down – the words of God and Jesus Christ… he heard and saw. If you read this prophecy aloud to the church, you will receive a special blessing… Those who listen to it being read and do what it says will also be blessed. For the time is near when these things will all come true.”
Revelation reveals the activities of Jesus during that difficult time for the Church. When reading Revelation, focus on the activities of Jesus; when discussing and teaching Revelation, focus on the activities of Jesus. REVELATION SHOWS THAT JESUS WINS – this message encouraged and strengthened the Christians under Roman persecution. In the coming weeks, we will study Jesus in Revelation.
Lord, bless us as we study the book of Revelation together, Amen!