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The Message of Revelation
I once read a story about a group of men who met at a local high school every Saturday night to play basketball. While they played, the school janitor usually sat off in a corner reading his Bible, trying to prepare for the worship of God the next day. Normally, he read until they were done. Then he would lock up and go home. One night, one of the men asked him, “What are you reading?” The old man replied, “The Book of Revelation.” The younger man asked, with a bit of a snicker, “Do you understand it?” The old man replied, “I sure do. — It says, ‘Jesus is gonna win.’”
That is just about as good an explanation of the Book of Revelation as I ever read, or heard. When you read this Book, try to remember that the message of this Book is just that. — The Lord Jesus Christ is going to win!
That message is delightful and comforting to us today; but it was particularly so in that horrible day of persecution in which the apostle John was inspired of God the Holy Ghost to write these twenty-two chapters, describing the sure triumph of Christ over all things.
By the time John was inspired of God to write this book the church of God was intensely persecuted throughout the Roman world. The fact is, the seed of the serpent has always hated the seed of the woman and sought to destroy it. As Cain slew Abel, as Ishmael persecuted Isaac, so the world has always set itself in opposition to Christ, his gospel, and his church. That is the way it was in our Lord's day. That is the way it was in John's day; and that is the way it is today.
The world is not opposed to religion. The world loves religion. But the world is opposed to Christ and to the gospel of his grace. The offense of the cross has not diminished. For the most part, at least in the Western world, God providentially restrains the world from exercising the violent persecutions of days gone by; but we must never imagine that the persecutor's heart has changed. It has not.
By the time the first century was drawing to its close, persecution against the church and kingdom of God was rampant and severe. Believers were looked upon with utter contempt and accused of the most vile things imaginable.
Persecution was the everyday experience of God's saints in this hostile world at the end of the first century. It is against this backdrop that John wrote the Book of Revelation, asserting, without the least hesitancy, the sure triumph of Christ and his church.
The apostle John told us in verse 7 that the Lord Jesus is coming back to this earth. He is about to give us a marvelously detailed description of what the Lord Jesus Christ is now like in his exaltation and glory as the risen and ascended Lord and King. But, first, he introduces himself in verse 9, tells us what (in verse 10) frame he was in when he received "the Revelation of Jesus Christ," and then declares the message the Lord gave him in verse 11.
Here we are assured that he who is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the Ending of all things shall be triumphant over all things and in all things.