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Friday, 18 August 2017

Revelation - Part 2

It is highly unlikely that I will be able to publish a post every day until I reach the end of the Book of the Revelation of Jesus, or even until September 24th, but here goes with a second offering!

This morning I read the remainder of what we refer to as the first chapter. Of course, the original was not written in chapters and verses - that was a much later innovation to make it easier for a specific phrase, sentence, or paragraph, to be looked up.

Turning to the margin of my study Bible (a wide-margined one) I have noted, beside vs.12-16:

"Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands One like a Son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden girdle round His breast; His head and His hair were white as white wool, white as snow; His eyes were like a flame of fire, His feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters; in His right hand He held seven stars, from His mouth issued a sharp two-edged sword, and His face was like the sun shining in full strength."

that this is a word-picture of "The majesty of the King of kings, and Lord of lords. His garments symbolise a Judge-King." He is, indeed, the risen, glorified, exalted Son of God Who has the authority to judge all of mankind - including His own people (see I Peter 4:17). 

The Revelation is, of course, full of symbolism - which is why many today find it difficult to understand, and why so many interpret it to suit their own ideas. In v.20, the risen Saviour refers to "... the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, ..." However, as I have noted in the margin, the word 'mystery' "... is not used in the modern sense of 'something that cannot be understood' (the very opposite of 'revelation'!), but as something that is waiting to be revealed and which will, when correctly explained, convey understanding."

Of course, as I pointed out, yesterday, it was initially sent out to a Church that was undergoing great persecution from the Roman authorities. The late John Stott comments: "The placing of this vision of Christ right at the beginning of the book is significant. This book is an unveiling or revealing. The Christians were a pitiably small remnant, persecuted by mighty foes. To all outward appearance their situation was hopeless. But it is only as Christ is seen for what He really is that anything else can be seen in its true perspective. So for these persecuted ones it was important that first of all the glory and the majesty of the risen Lord be brought out." 

You and I may not be undergoing the persecution that believers at the end of the first, and beginning of the second, centuries suffered - and that so many, in some fifty countries around the world, are suffering today - but we, too, need to be constantly reminded of Who Jesus is. He is not merely a great man; an excellent teacher; a good example. He is all of that - but He is also God the Son, the second Persona (not a typo - see my book, "Great Words of the Faith", the chapter on the Trinity) of the Godhead; the Saviour Who voluntarily gave His life that your sins, and mine, might be forgiven.

Of course, that wonderful free gift of salvation, whilst available to all, is only realised by those who come to Him, in repentance and faith, and who seek to live their lives for Him. Have you done that? If not, why not?! It would be the most momentous decision of your life - and the only one, the results of which stretch into eternity.

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