Revealing Revelation – That Was On Purpose

15Mar11

It is with this post we will now make a decided change in focus from background information regarding themes and characteristics of the book of Revelation to a more concerted effort to discuss that actual themes presented, interpretive methods used and purpose of the book that is self testifying. We start here with a discussion of the primary purposes of the book. Why was it written and what internal evidences point to those purposes.

There will be some areas of disagreement among commentators that will be outlined, but it is at this point where the general ideas become more focused and the prejudices of the author will become more apparent. I will attempt to adequately present the opposing views for background information and critique, but since the major opposing view (Dispensational Futurism) has a firm grip on the psyche and ideological preferences of much of evangelicalism, there will less of an emphasis on those opposing views.

Also note that there are sub-themes that will not be discussed here, but will be tackled as we come against them in our journey through the book of Revelation.

So, what are the primary purposes of the book?

A BOOK OF REVEALING CHRIST

The book itself starts with this declaration.

Rev 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ

The book’s over arching theme and purpose is to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ. This work is a testimony to truth that resides in the person of Jesus Christ, that He is both Lord and Savior and that He lives, rules and reigns presently and forever!

This, in a sense, is an apologetic. The book attempts to make Christ real and prove that He is who He and others claim Him to be. This will be done by showing that His words were true and that His work was actual and authentic. He made certain promises regarding the Jews and His Church and this book will show the truth behind those claims.

It also reveals Christ to be God. This theme weaves itself throughout the book in great clarity.

There is a popularly held belief that this “revealing” actually means His “appearing” as in His Second Coming, but that is simply not what the word “apocalypto” means. The term by which the book gets it’s name is to reveal, unveil, make known or to affirm in an obvious manner. The context, along with the nature of the evidence, which includes the affirmation of His Church and destruction of the city and Temple, does not allow for the leap that this unveiling means “appearance.”

The primary point here is that the ultimate purpose of the book is to reveal Christ to the readers of the book. It is not meant to be a “veiling” or a “covering up” which appears to be the result to many readers. The attempts to shroud the book in mystery beyond it’s initial context and audience is to do a disservice to the primary focus and purpose of the book to begin with.

In other words, when the commentator makes the events more mysterious, the time texts more vague and the initial recipients completely inconsequential, they have, in a sense, veiled over the truths that the book is setting about to reveal! Now, it’s understandable why many would want to make the book more difficult to understand than the unique language and literary style may create of it”s own accord, but it may have more to do with the need to sell books then anything else.

How many books on the shelf of Christian bookstores claim to be the “key” to unlocking the mysteries that shroud the book of Revelation. These books claim great spiritual and Biblical insight that others missed and that it why purchasing their book will help the reader finally understand this enigmatic book filled with mystery and riddles. Only those prophetic prognosticators have the key that can “unlock” or, to use a more apropos term, “reveal” the truths hidden within it’s pages.

If the above is true than the title of the book is a lie! The book itself is a “revelation.” It is what it sets out to do! Reveal Christ! Any attempt to claim it is a veiling that needs to be unveiled in future generations is to deny the primary and initial purpose of the book!

So, how does the book go about revealing Christ?

There are four basic themes presented that go about to reveal the nature, person, purpose and position of Christ. Again, there are many other sub-theme present that will be dealt with in later posts. But foru our purposes here, the first of those four is also found in the first verse.

A BOOK OF PROPHECY

Rev 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place.

The initial evidence to the claims of the deity of Christ and His current position as the one who rules and reigns over heaven and earth is that His words of events foretold will come true just as He said they would. These words given to John by Jesus of events that “would soon take place” would show beyond the shadow of a doubt that His words – all of them – are true.

For the commentator to miss this important fact is to miss the greatest apologetic of all time. Jesus said something would happen within a certain time frame and those things did happen. These are prophetic words. These words could not come the mind of a mere mortal in wishful thinking or guess work, they must come from a God that knows all and plans all, even to the slightest detail.

Christ is revealed as God when His words come true.

WARN OF PERSECUTION and DESTRUCTION

This dual purpose theme deals with the actual prophecies themselves. These events and actions detailed are of a dual nature. To the Church He is warning of a persecution that was coming that they would need to stand up against and that they would have to fight through to end. The Church would be warned regarding two major persecutors, one of which had a religious connotation while the other a secular government imagery. But both would be responsible for a great many deaths and intense persecution as the result of the faith of the Church.

John points to the present condition of persecution and also mentions that the seven Churches to whom the letter was sent would face even greater persecution to come.

Rev 1:9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation

The warning of destruction is proclaimed against those two persecutors of the Church. Both the religious and secular government and those affiliated with them will see and partake in the destructive acts described. Both will be targeted for their destruction based on their soon coming (and even current) persecution against Jesus’ Church.

How this plays out is where great debate begins, but the truth remains that it is obvious from within the body of the text that those tribulational and destructive events are meted out against those who persecute the Church.

Rev 16:5 And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say,

“Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was,
for you brought these judgments.
6For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink.
It is what they deserve!

A BOOK OF ENCOURAGEMENT

Despite the tribulation, persecution and horrific images displayed, the book is a book of encouragement for those who are being persecuted. Christ is always shown as being victorious, in control and ruling over the events of man.

There is also a sense of encouragement that comes from the vengeance and vindication against Christ’s and the Churches enemies. We are told the Jesus will come and protect His Church. But we also see this sense of vengeance that is done to actually appease those who have been persecuted for His name’s sake.

In Revelation 6 we are shown a picture of the altar and under the altar those who had been killed for the sake of the Gospel. They cry out to be avenged. They are told to wait a little longer, but that they would be avenged. This picture is reassuring to a Church under persecution. Knowing that their Lord does hear their cries and that His promises to avenge them would be fulfilled.

A BOOK OF WORSHIP

Possibly the most overlooked theme that runs throughout the book of Revelation and is one of the primary and ultimate purposes of the book is to incite the worship of the one, true God revealed in Jesus Christ.

There are seven great scenes of worship depicted amongst the pages. Each has a different purpose to proclaim the awesome works and nature of the Lord. One great lesson is that His people must worship Him not just because of His rich blessings and the warm of fuzzy nature of modern worship tunes, but for His power, His acts of retribution, cursing of the wicked, destruction of the evil and triumph over His enemies.

Much worship music today misses the reasons why the angels and 24 elders proclaimed Holy, Holy, Holy. The Lord is worshiped not only for being who He is in majestic truth (Rev 4) but for destroying the enemies of the Church (Rev 18) and avenging His own (Rev 16).

It would do the Church a great service if she were to see the nature of worship found in Revelation. It may not make those who praise books like The Shack very comfortable to see the worship of a God that is represented in the way Jesus is worshiped and portrayed in Revelation, but it would be Biblically affirming and accurate. The Psalmist has no problem portraying God in such a way and it would behoove the Church to recognize this God we serve as seen in this amazing book filled with eternal and timeless worship!

So, Christ is revealed over and over again and in many different ways. This revealing must necessarily lead to worship if one loves the Jesus portrayed in the pages of this book. No other false portrayal will suffice and ultimately this should encourage the Church today just as it did the Church in John’s day!

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3 Responses to “Revealing Revelation – That Was On Purpose”

  1. 1 Tracey Bonsell

    David,
    I am excited to see where this post is heading!

  2. 2 Yeshua the Lord of Glory

    Hey David

    And as he is revealed over and over again in this book … All one can do is worship over and over again!

    Every time that i say this or that was your best post. It just keeps on getting better and better! Great Job David great Job!!!

    Talk to you tomorrow

  3. Great blog, will read more when I have time! xx


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