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December 25 Today’s Reading: Revelation 1-3
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ”
Today all the world is reminded of the fact that God the Son came into the world in human flesh to redeem and save his people from their sins. How fitting it is that today we have begun to read the book of our Savior’s conquests — “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” The Book of Revelation gives us seven visions of the Person and work of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. In these seven visions the Lord revealed to John what he had done, is doing, and shall hereafter do for his Church, in his Church, and with his Church.
The whole purpose of the closing book of Holy Scripture is to assure God’s children in this world of our ultimate conquest over the world, the flesh, and the devil. Our translators call the last book of the Bible “The Revelation of Saint John the Divine;” and many refer to it as “The Book of Revelations” (plural). Both are incorrect. The final book of Holy Scripture is the revelation (singular) of our blessed Savior. God the Holy Spirit specifically gives it this title: — “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”
By revealing to us who he is and what he does, our Lord calls for us to ever look to him with confident faith, and assures us that we are “more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
The seven visions John saw and recorded by divine inspiration are set before us in consecutive order in the twenty-two chapters of this Book. He saw...
1. The Lord Jesus Christ in the midst of his churches, the seven golden candlesticks, in this world (chapters 1-3).
2. The Lamb of God opening and fulfilling the seven sealed book of God’s sovereign, eternal purpose (chapters 4-7).
3. The Lord Jesus answering the prayers of his people, protecting them from their enemies and vindicating them by executing the seven trumpets of judgment in his providential rule of the universe (chapters 8-11). God’s judgments upon the world are but God’s vindication of his elect.
4. The Son of God and his Church persecuted by Satan, world government, and false religion, the war between Christ and Satan (chapters 12-14).
5. The Lord Jesus sending forth his angels to pour out the seven vials of his wrath upon the earth (chapters 15-16).
6. Christ’s conquest over Babylon (all false, freewill, works religion), the beast, and the false prophet (chapters 17-19).
7. Christ’s glorious dominion over and destruction of Satan, and the glory of the New Jerusalem (chapters 20-22).
These seven visions each cover the whole gospel age from the first to the second coming of Christ. They do not represent different ages, dispensations, or prophetic events. They all tell the same story. They all tell us what our Lord has done, is doing, and shall do for the salvation of his people, assuring us of the ultimate triumph of Christ and his Church by the gospel.
The Number Seven
The use of the number “seven” in the Book of Revelation is striking. There are “Seven Golden Candlesticks,” “Seven Churches,” “Seven Stars,” “Seven Seals,” “Seven Trumpets,” “Seven Angels,” “Seven Vials.”
Seven is the number of perfection, completion, and satisfaction. And in each of these seven visions, the Holy Spirit assures us of the perfect rule of Christ as the Monarch of the universe for the complete victory and eternal salvation of his Church. What a blessed assurance that is. Christ has prevailed! Christ is prevailing! Christ shall prevail!
The number of the beast, we are told, is 666 (Revelation 13:18). Six is the number of man, the number of frustration, failure, and defeat. God’s elect have nothing to fear from him whose number is six!
When your soul is heavy, when your life is filled with chaos, when darkness blackens your sky, when everything in your life seems to be turning upside down, and confusion seizes your very soul, lift up your eyes unto the hills and hope in God our Savior, who closes his Book with “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” “the Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” who has prevailed to fulfil all the good will and purpose of God for your soul. — Behold the Lamb upon his throne and rejoice. Be easy, O my soul! — The Lamb of God who loved me and gave himself for me sits upon the throne of heaven! — “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth!” Let us be glad and rejoice!