Introduction, part 4
e. The Subject is Joyous.
I really wanted to put a lot of words besides "Joyous" to explain what the feeling of Christians should be when they read the book of Revelation, and you can write down words that may come to your mind. In 2 Thessalonians 1:7, Paul wrote in response to Christians who thought the rapture had already taken place. You see some were shaken in their minds; they were troubled because someone had told them that the day of Christ had already come. Notice what Paul says to encourage them about the Revelation of Jesus Christ, when Christ will be revealed. Paul said in verse 3
“We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed (apokalupsei) from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire He will take vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.”
And again, turn to another 1:7, this time Corinthians 1:7, we will read beginning in verse 4:
4 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, 6 even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, 7 so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
And finally let us turn to a third 1:7, this time 1 Peter 1:7, but starting in verse 3
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed (yes, that is the verb form of the word apocalypse, apokaluphthenai) in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls. 10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven--things which angels desire to look into. 13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you (when?) at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Why have I asked you to reathese three passages? Did you notice something other than all three were 1:7 passages? Did you notice the circumstances that the writers, first Paul, then Peter, and finally from the
, the aged and
beloved Apostle John, wrote. It was in agony and pain and in suffering that
those readers were in the midst of that brought such excitement and longing and
joy to hear of the apocalypses of Jesus Christ, the uncovering, the away from
veiling, the Revelation of Jesus Christ. island
Why is the revelation of Jesus Christ so crucial to Christianity? Because true Christians are counted worthy of the
and are rewarded with
what? PERSECUTION. TRIBULATION. It is a manifestation of evidence of the RIGHTEOUS
JUDGMENT OF GOD. kingdom of
Revelation 1:7 says, “He comes with clouds.” That is joyful, delightful for the Christian. He’s coming in power, in majesty, in magnificence, in grandeur. The Subject of the Revelation is delicious to the Christian, and especially those who have been persecuted for his or her faith. Revelation uncovers and takes away the veil of the sufferings of Christ, but it also takes away the veil from the sufferings of the saints. And not just the sufferings of this old world, of old age, of the sufferings that overtakes the heathen and the Christian, the atheist and the saint. Paul, Peter, John and Jesus all point to the revelation as a victory to those who have suffered for the cause of Christ.
Look, please, one more time at another writing; this found in Romans 8.
13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be (WHAT?!!) revealed (apokaluphthenai, the verb form of “taking off the veil”. REVEALED in who?!!) in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing (your translation may say manifestation, but it might as well say ‘REVELATION’ because it is the same word as found in Revelation 1:1 APOKALUPSES! The taking away of the veil) of the sons of God.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ is Joyous, it’s soothing, it’s rapturous, it’s ecstatic because it is not only the revelation and unveiling of Jesus Christ, it is our unveiling too from the sufferings of this world that are not worthy to be compared to the glories which shall be revealed.
May I say one more thing about Revelation? We are to be excited about the revelation of Jesus Christ and also our own revelation, but look once again at Romans 8:19.
19 For the earnest expectation (apo-kara-dokia) of the creation for the revealation (apoc-a-lup-sin) of the sons of God eagerly waits (apek-dech-e-tai). (This is the original Greek order, using a play on words with three words beginning with “apo”)
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
The Revelation is not just Jesus Christ from a slain lamb to a conquering King. Not just we believers from suffering saints to becoming priests and kings unto God and His Father. But the revelation is of all of creation. All of creation groans and labors with birth pangs. But even creation will be delivered and revealed to what it should be.