Rise Up and Become
So far, we have highlighted the four basic principles to understanding the Book of Revelation:
- It is a revelation of Jesus Christ. We should seek a revelation of Him in every part of this vision.
- It is given to the Lord’s bondservants to understand. Being a bondservant is a key to understanding it.
- We are told these things would “shortly come to pass.” They began to happen shortly after John had the revelation, so understanding history is a key to understand this prophecy.
- There is a promised blessing to all who “read” and “do” what is written in Revelation.
No prophecy is given just to inform us of what is to come. They require action on our part, calling us torise up, to do, and to become. This is why those given understanding are willing to do His will. So as we proceed with this study, we will include action steps.
John was told that the things he saw would shortly come to pass and that the time was near. That was nearly two thousand years ago. With the passage of time, it has become important to understand what took place and what is yet to come. As the corrupting influence of the antichrist grows, it is imperative that the“Revelation of Jesus Christ” (see Revelation 1:1) arises in God’s people to counter it. As we see in Isaiah 60 and other places, it will be in the darkest of times that the greatest glory of the Lord will be revealed. We have the biblical testimony to confirm this, as it was during the darkest times of Israel’s history that the Lord raised up the greatest prophets.
In II Corinthians 3:18 we are given a crucial spiritual principle: “we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” We are changed by what we behold. We have many examples of those who spent their time studying evil who became evil themselves, taking on more of the antichrist’s nature than Christ’s. These may claim to be Christians because they hold to basic Christian doctrines, but they are not following Christ or manifesting His Spirit. For this reason, we will spend more time seeking the “Revelation of Jesus Christ” than we will on the antichrist.
This does not negate the need to understand the antichrist spirit coming to maturity in our time. We are exhorted not to be ignorant of the devil’s schemes (see II Corinthians 2:11), but understanding what the devil is doing is not nearly as important as understanding what the Lord is doing. We will not be delivered from the evil of the times by running from it, but by running to Christ and abiding in Him.
One of the most succinct and clear messages of how to know our purpose in Christ and fit into our place in His body is His message to the seven churches in Revelation. As we touched on, this message was more than a message to seven congregations in one small part of the world. This was a message to all churches for all time. It is a message for us.
As we behold the nature of the antichrist unfolding in our time, we must resolve to grow up into Christ and manifest Him in all we do. Because we are promised that when sin abounds grace will much more abound (see Romans 5:20), we can expect more grace to walk in the Lord’s Spirit because of the darkness. We are also promised that we will never be tempted beyond what we can bear (see I Corinthians 10:13). We need not be fearful, but we should expect to see more of the Lord’s glory in His people.
What could be better than being bearers of His glory? More than the tribulations and evil coming to maturity in these times, we should look for the glory of the Lord. As the Lord said when He completed His discourse about the end of the age, when we see these things we should look up and rejoice.