Bible Society of South Africa

The revelation of Jesus - 1 June 2023

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

1This book is the record of the events that Jesus Christ revealed. God gave him this revelation in order to show his servants what must happen very soon. Christ made these things known to his servant John by sending his angel to him,

Revelation 1:1GNBOpen in Bible reader

Jesus Christ is the victor and through him, his church is also victorious and we as his servants are more than conquerors. This is the enduring message of the book of Revelation. We can look at this book in two different ways.

The first is to interpret it literally and see it as an exact prediction of what would happen in the future. This interpretation holds the view that the book was written to foretell every event that will happen, especially at the end of time. All events like wars, disasters and pandemics (e.g. Covid-19) are seen as exact outcomes of what is prophesied in Revelation. If we interpret Revelation in this way, one runs into difficult problems of how to interpret the strange ideas, figures, dates and metaphors. There are many groups who read the book as such, but even among them, there is often no consensus about the meaning of all these things.

It is not possible to cover the whole story of Revelation in a few short messages, like our daily readings. Our aim for the month, therefore, is to concentrate on the central message of the book. I believe it was not meant to forecast the future, but was written to comfort and direct Christian believers through the ages. This way of counsel was also used in the Old Testament to comfort God’s people during the time of exile.

We find a beautiful example in the book of Ezekiel when he had a vision of the new temple and the new Israel (Ezekiel 43-44). The vision of the temple and the new Israel was not so much a prophecy of what would happen, but a vision to encourage the people of God and show them that better times were on the way. This temple, incidentally, was never built, but the vision encouraged those in exile. Jesus revealed the events in Revelation for the same reason.

The message of Revelation is that Jesus is King and will be King for ever. Even when Satan brings all his power to bear, Jesus will always be victorious. In Revelation, Jesus’ victory over sin and death is like a straight line running from the beginning of time to the end.

Prayer: We praise you Lord for revealing to us, through your word, that Jesus is the victor. Amen

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