Bondservants of Christ
Last week we covered the first key to understanding the Book of Revelation found in its first sentence: a revelation of Jesus Christ. This is also the most basic key to all understanding. It’s all about Jesus and all things will be summed up in Him. Therefore, the wise seek every day to know Him better and to be found in Him.
The next key is also found in the first sentence of Revelation—the revelation:
“that God gave to Him to show to His servants….”
Just as few Christians are disciples according to the biblical definition, there are fewer that conform to the biblical definition of a bondservant. As the first sentence in Revelation declares, this is a revelation for the bondservants. Without the mentality that comes from being a true servant of Christ and living to do His will, not much of this revelation can be understood.
As the Lord said in John 7:17, “If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.” Fundamental to understanding the teachings or revelations of Scripture is our willingness to do His will. The degree that we live the life of a bondservant is the level that we can understand His teachings or prophecy.
Two significant teachers of church history, Abelard and Aquinas, argued whether one must believe before they could understand or whether they needed to understand in order to believe. From what the Lord said in John 7:17, before we can understand we must believe and be willing to obey Him.
A bondservant is one owned by another. They do not have anything that is their own—even their time belongs to their master. They wake up each day seeking to know and do the will of their master above all else. Do we live to do the Lord’s will, doing “all things for the sake of His gospel”? Do we take up our crosses each day, dying to our own desires and seeking to do what He gives us to do?
This does not mean that those not living as true disciples or bondservants do not have eternal life. Those who trust in His atonement by His cross are redeemed. However, when we are born into this world we just start to become what we will be, and so it is with those born again—they are just beginning to become what they are called to be. To stay at that spiritual level has devastating consequences. The more shallow or immature we are in our faith walk, the more difficult it is to comprehend the ways of the Lord or to survive in the unfolding times, as we will see later in this study.
The Lord said, “Woe to those who nurse babes” (see Matthew 24:19) in these times. I interpret this as being bad for those who keep their people in immaturity, as well as those who have been kept in immaturity. Maturity in Christ begins with the resolve to seek His will first and to do it. Fundamental to knowing the Lord, believing in Him, and following Him is to know that He is Lord. If we see Him as He is, we will believe in Him more than in our own understanding, opinions, or desires.
To connect the next statement, let’s read again the first two verses of the Revelation:
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,
who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
Again, we see that this is a revelation of Jesus to be communicated to His bondservants. He bore witness that this was a revelation of Jesus in “all the things that he saw.” So we must look for Jesus in everything in this vision. As we do this, it will carry over to us seeing Him in everything in our life. Let us resolve to be His bondservants, valuing doing His will above our own and delighting in the awesome privilege of doing so.