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Revelation 1-3


A Devotional Journey 
    led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
            The book of Revelation was written by John, the writer of 1, 2 & 3 John and the Gospel of John.  It is written to Christians entering an era of persecution and hardship.  The message is clear:  “Don’t be afraid!   God will prevail, and His victory is yours through faith in Jesus Christ!
            The background of the book is a growing antagonism in the Roman Empire against any religion (or individual) which would not accede to the deification of the emperor and with him of the empire.  Compromise with this heresy was beginning to infect the churches as Christians despaired of any other means of survival.  God’s revelation to John not only warns against the compromise and accommodation of evil, but promises that in the end God will both preserve and reward His people if they will but continue faithfully to follow and trust in Him alone.
            While many differences regarding interpretation exist among committed Christians, there are certain features of the book which require understanding.  This is a highly symbolic book.  While parts of it must be taken literally (for example, the communications from Christ to the 7 churches in Revelation 2 and 3), the vast majority of the writing concerns visions which are representative beyond the immediate images they convey.  The number 7 is used repeatedly, for instance.  This number in John’s day represented completeness and fulfills that function in his writing.
            Chapter 1 presents a greeting and explanation of the book and the occasion of its writing.  John is a prisoner when he receives the revelations in this book, but has been commissioned by Christ Himself to convey everything he saw (with a couple of exceptions indicated in the book itself) to the Christians in all the churches (first in Asia, then in general).
            Chapters 2 and 3 are evaluations and instructions from Christ to 7 churches in Asia.  Each in turn is praised for something in its past and, with two exceptions, condemned for certain current practices.  Each church is encouraged with the reminder that there is still time to return to the faith and righteousness in which they were established in the first place.  This section contains many practical observations and directions which could just as well apply to churches in our own era.

            Read through the communications to the 7 churches and ask yourself if there are any points at which you too fall short.  Take encouragement from Christ’s loving patience with these early Christians, and make a plan to rekindle your own faith.  For example, are you as enthused about the work of Jesus Christ as you were when you first met and responded to His invitation to follow and find salvation?  If so, wonderful!  If not, what could you do to reignite the kind of excitement and determination to be faithful which you experienced at first.
            It is amazing how relevant are the lessons taught in the Bible!

8 A. Eugene Pearson 2010