22:20 “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen, Come Lord Jesus.”
We need to avoid two extremes when considering the Revelation of John. One, because the book has only mysteries that confuse, we shouldn’t bother. Two, because Revelation has so many mysteries, study it to satisfy our appetite for the dramatic, the spectacular, the unknown.
What use, then, should we make of the final book of Jesus Christ’s revelation of himself to history? The eight beatitudes may offer a suggestion: learn, accept and incorporate into daily living the spiritual lessons we can otherwise overlook by fixating on identifying every person or event described. Think of two such principles of MORE.
One, the Revelation stressed Jesus Christ’s sovereignty over all history, all governments, all opponents, all who intentionally acknowledge his rule and all who don’t. Whoever seems to be in charge at any particular time, Jesus IS ALWAYS, in every age, whatever the circumstance.
Pompous Pharaoh at first considered himself untouchable by the plagues God sent Moses to inflict on Egypt. However, from the first, God warned the king of worse plagues coming by having Moses’ rod-turned serpent swallow all the serpents cast by Egyptian magicians. A verbal message accompanied the seventh plague—hail beyond all their experience. “But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth” Exodus 9:16.
That principle applies to all historic events and personalities. Think of two. II Kings 19:25-31 is one. Read the entire chapter for the background. Isaiah 37:21-38 has the prophet’s personal account of the same event. Luke 2:1-7 explained God’s sovereignty in fulfilling the prophet Micah’s prediction that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, Judea, when at the time of the Annunciation, both Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, Galilee Luke 1:26-27.
Two, face uncertainties, problems and alterations in daily life with faith in God, not doubt; with hope in God, not despair; with confidence in God, not questions. Especially the pressing question now about the dreaded COVID-19 scare: “What’s going on?” Whatever decisions will yet be made to restart community life and the workplace, will it be enough to continue recovery? What’s to be the long-term effect on the economy? Will a workable vaccine become available to prevent new outbreaks? And, more alarmingly, a question Christians must consider, given our nation’s departure from God: is the pandemic a one-time, short-term adversity, or a portent; a one-time trouble, or an ugly deformity sure to afflict us with increasingly disfiguring tribulations, fraying nerves, increasing impiety, hastening violence?
Whatever comes on the world, Christ counsels patience in his people, awareness of the circumstances in his people, boldness in his people, fearlessness in his people—all because GOD is in control! It doesn’t matter “what’s going on?” All that matters is, “Who’s in charge of what’s going on!” That entire Bible message, reflected in the Revelation, encouraged Christians then and encourages us now. Whatever occurs in society, remain SURE, COURAGEOUS, IMMOVABLE in Christ Jesus. While not responsible for the mess humanity made in history, God will yet conquer all opposing him and invite into his New City, earth and universe those who loved their Lord more than their own limitations, more than their own sorrows and more...infinitely more than their own lives also. End Part III