Revelation - Week 1
Summary: The book of Revelation is a gift to us focused not on future speculation but insight into the nature of God and God's presence with us in the suffering of this world.
Key Scripture (Revelation 1): Prologue
1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angelto his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud 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.
Greetings and Doxology
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come,and from the seven spirits[a] before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”[b]
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”[c]
So shall it be! Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
John’s Vision of Christ
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphiaand Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,[d] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feetand with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sunshining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right handand of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels[e]of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
The Book of Revelation is a mixture of Apocalypse, Prophesy, Resistance Literature, Worship Liturgy, and a Pastoral Letter.
Apocalypse means revelation - often from a heavenly being to the people, in order for them to understand what is happening from a heavenly perspective.
Prophesy is not fortune telling, it is a word from God to his people of encouragement and challenge.
Resistance Literature - The book of Revelation is intended to shape God's people, through worship, to resist the powers of this world, which are working to assimilate God's people to their kingdom instead of God's.
Worship Literature - Revelation is filled with worship. There is so much for us to learn about God, Jesus as the Lamb of God, and our own relationship with God by living in, worshiping through, and reflecting on the worship in Revelation.
A Pastoral Letter - Revelation was written to real people, in real places, with real issues. It was a letter that was circulated around to different churches to encourage them in the midst of their struggle. We can read and be encouraged by this letter in the same way.
How do we approach Revelation?
- As we read pay attention to the descriptions of God. What is revealed to us?
- Pray the prayers and sing the songs of Revelation, use it for worship
- Focus on the Lamb of God, what does it mean for us that our king is the Lamb that was slain? How does John illustrated and emphasize Jesus as the Lamb.
- Look for encouragements and challenges. What words to these first century churches are also words to us as we navigate a world that is trying to assimilate us as it was the Christians in the first century?
- Read it together! Read, reflect, pray, and share your thoughts with others, this helps the scripture come alive for us in new ways.