Why does the Book of Revelation seem so difficult, troubling, and even frightening? How would you categorize yourself in relation to this last, very important book of the New Testament?
___ I have only read parts, or have read it but don’t fully understand it.
___ I rely on the interpretation of others.
___ I have thoroughly studied the book as apocalyptic literature, and have considered the meaning of original Greek words (not relying on an English translation) as well as all allusions to the Hebrew Scriptures.
I shudder at the thought of you relying on the interpretation of others. The teaching that believers in Christ will be raptured, and thus will avoid all or part of the Great Tribulation, should be carefully scrutinized and questioned. In short, you need to draw your own conclusions after a careful examination of the text. But how?
If you begin with Revelation 1:1, you may be quite startled. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants….” That is, the Book of Revelation is not written to all believers but specifically to disciples of the Lord Yeshua. Therefore….
___ If you are NOT a disciple, you will undoubtedly be unable to discern its messages, and will likely be swayed by misleading interpretations.
___ If you ARE a disciple, it will take work to read and understand Revelation, but you can do it!
Let me pose an important question. Who is a disciple? I strongly suspect that you are a disciple if you are reading this article. Disciples are those who have made Yeshua their Lord and Master. They humbly submit in love and faith, and desire to walk in the ways of God as servants of their Lord. That is you. Right?
My favorite passage about disciples starts in the New Testament and leads us to the Hebrew Scriptures. The author of the Book of Hebrews (NT) cites a passage from Isaiah and applies it to Yeshua. “Behold, I and the children whom God has given me” (Heb 2:13b citing Is 6:18). Those who have taken our course, “Ancient Methods of Searching the Scriptures” (offered both with an instructor online and also as self-study with DVDs and a workbook) know that the people of ancient Israel memorized the Holy Writings. So, a brief citation in the NT would have stimulated the memorized passage in the OT. Therefore, we must return to Isaiah and read the cited verse in its context, which will be the likely memorized passage. The immediate context is Isaiah 8:16-18.
Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
And I will wait for the LORD who is hiding His face from the house of Jacob; I will even look eagerly for Him.
Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are for signs and wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion. Is 8:16-18
I will draw your attention to two powerful messages in this Isaiah passage. First, the Lord allows disciples to perceive truths about future prophetic events that other children of God will not understand. We can apply this message to the Book of Revelation. As a disciple, you can penetrate a depth of understanding that this last, very important book of the NT offers. However, this will take work, and the ancient methods of searching the Scriptures are a key that will unlock its mysteries.
Second, the children whom the Lord God has given to His Son, Yeshua the Messiah, “are for signs and wonders.” That is, you have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit as a result of your faith in Christ. So, use it! As you walk in the power of this Spirit, you will be witnessing the glory of God through signs and wonders. You are will be showing to the world the glory that is not only present now but is also the glory to come.
So. Disciples…. roll up your sleeves and tackle the Book of Revelation. It is written specifically to you.
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