The Greatest Encouragement
When we begin to understand Revelation, it becomes one of the most encouraging books in the Bible. Consider this promise in the third verse:
Blessed is he that reads, and those that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
There is a blessing just for reading Revelation and another for keeping the things written in it. This certainly makes it worth our time to do this study. Any blessing from God is greater than earthly treasure—this is better than finding the mother lode in our backyard!
As we understand what is written in Revelation, we will understand these blessings. This may be your least favorite book of the Bible, but I predict that as we do this study, it will become your favorite. The encouragement in Revelation may be the greatest encouragement ever given to man. Its message is the best news that the world will ever hear because it contains the core message of the gospel of the kingdom.
As we covered, this book is a revelation of Jesus Christ. He is not only the love of the Father, but the true desire of mankind. When lifted up, He draws all men to Himself. Revelation lifts Him up and describes His place in eternity. As we mature in Christ, seeing Him and His glory is far more exciting than seeing our eternal rewards. Our rewards are indescribably wonderful, but the greatest reward of all is seeing Him and the Father.
We could never be as proud of any brother as we are of Jesus. There is none as good to us as Him. There is no earthly father that we could be as proud of, or that could be as wonderful, as our Heavenly Father. We can know and be close to Them now. We are promised that if we will draw near to the Lord, He will draw near to us. At any given time, we are as close to Him as we want to be (see James 4:8).
As we study Revelation we will be drawn closer. Just doing this study in pursuit of knowing the “revelation of Jesus Christ” will result in a great blessing. If we “do the things that are written in it,” we will have the greatest blessing of all.
Seeking a deeper revelation of Jesus is the main thing, but there is also a sequence of events foretold in this prophecy that we want to understand. This too is stated in Revelation 1:1:
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His servants—things which must soon take place” (NKJV).
When He said that these were “things which must shortly take place” (NKJV) He meant it. The events foretold in this prophecy began to happen almost immediately after John received the revelation. They have continued to unfold for nearly two thousand years. Not everything has been fulfilled, but most of it has.
Although some of the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled, those who see this as being all about the end of the age are ignorant of history. The accuracy with which these things have been fulfilled is not only encouraging and enlightening, but it gives us an indication of what to expect next. Here’s some encouragement—most of the best parts have yet to be fulfilled!
This is not to imply that there will not be trials. The most difficult times of all are just beginning to unfold, but they will not last long. They are so brief that they hardly register as a blip on the radar screen. After that short blip, the most wonderful and exciting times the world has ever known will be upon us.
In the first verse, John wrote that the events written in this book would “shortly take place” (NKJV). At the end of the third verse he reaffirms that “the time is near.” What was the future to John is now history for us. As a new believer, I was shown that many of the prophecies in Scripture, especially Daniel and Revelation, could not be understood without knowing history. That is the main reason why I have spent over forty years studying it.
If you’re thinking that you do not have that kind of time to study history, you don’t need to. We all have different parts to play. One of mine is doing in-depth studies and condensing them for those who don’t have the time to do them but need the knowledge. This is about understanding both God and man. Without that, we won’t do well through what is coming. What is about to happen on the earth will be one of the greatest revelations of both God and man ever. This is the consummation of the great journey.