We have been in a verse by verse study of the book of Revelation now officially for 20 class sessions. We are on the last two chapters which should take about two more weeks to complete. We are winding down on the symbolic imagery and application for the recipients, and are approaching the glorious picture of heaven. As we prepare for this, I wanted to bring up a few of the overall lessons which we have covered in our study.
GOD IS IN CONTROL
One overarching lesson from this book is that God is always in control. While the Christians of John’s day were right in the middle of a time of persecution, John was given a clear image of Jesus.
“Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this” (Revelation 1:12-19).
This image of Jesus is much more strong than the image many of us call to mind of a frail, pale dying man on a cross. Revelation does not show to us a suffering servant, but a glorious King. This is a symbol of God being in control in the midst of chaos.
JUDGMENT IS COMING
In Revelation many symbols are representative of Rome oppressing Christians. This is helpful to the saints who went through this persecution to know that God knows their struggles. Many chapters in this book deal with God sending plagues and wrath upon this empire as a prelude to their judgment and destruction. This is important to the Christians of the first century, but also to us as a reminder. Just as the people in Rome would be judged according to their works, so shall we. Revelation 20:12, “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.”
Peter said it best: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:11-13).