Bible Society of South Africa

Christ the victor - 5 June 2023

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

19Write, then, the things you see, both the things that are now and the things that will happen afterwards.

Revelation 1:19GNBOpen in Bible reader

Revelation is an interpretation of the history of Christ and his church, but not history as we usually understand it. It is not a description of what happened in the past, but rather an overview of the past, the present and the future. It was written for all Christians, of all times, and the purpose is to help the church and her members to withstand the onslaughts of Satan and the world. In a sense, we can call it “future history”.

What was true for the church in the time of Revelation is still true for the church of today. To really understand the book, it is important to know that the events, as written down by John, are not always in chronological order. When reading the book, one may think that every vision is an entirely new event, while it might actually be a recurring subject, only seen from a different angle.

To really understand the book and be able to also apply it to our own era, we should look at when it was written and what was happening in the world at that time in history. John probably wrote the book between 90–95 AD. It was a time of harsh persecution of the church by the Romans. Domitian was emperor and many Christians were either killed or enslaved during his rule. In this time of persecution, they needed a strong anchor. Therefore, God revealed what was already happening and also “the things that will happen afterwards”. He instructed John to write it down.

In South Africa, we are not persecuted because of our faith, but unfortunately, that is not true for many Christians worldwide. There are still many countries where Christians are persecuted and even killed. Although we are not physically persecuted, we as a church, and individual believer, are experiencing more and more that we are being ignored by the world. We need only to read the very negative letters in newspapers and on social media to see that the church of today is, just like in biblical times, fighting for survival. We should not fear as the message of Revelation is still true. Jesus is Lord and he gives us the guarantee that we will also overcome all evil and even death itself.

Prayer: We thank you for helping us to believe amidst war and violence, and the apathy of people when we talk about you. Thank you that we can know you are the King. Amen

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