How To Benefit From The Revelation
I am beginning to write a book on the Book of Revelation – a sort of practical commentary that focuses on the value of the book for today. From time to time I might dabble in some speculation about future meanings of the prophecies and visions in the book, but, for the most part I am going to stick to what this amazing book means to a believer in Jesus Christ today. This in fact was the reason why the Revelation was given to John in the first place – the Revelation was meant to “bless” Christians, real Christians, living in first century Asia Minor, who were in need of encouragement, edification, and correction. God’s gift to those beleaguered Christians was a Revelation – but specifically a Revelation of Jesus Christ the King, and His coming Kingdom. This is why the “angels” of the churches (messengers) are instructed to read the book out loud - and, to heed the things written in it. The word for “read” speaks of a public reading. Robertson, in his “Word Pictures in the New Testament” says this about the phrase “he who reads”:
“(ho anaginōskōn). Present active singular articular participle of anaginōskō (as in Luke 4:16). Christians in their public worship followed the Jewish custom of public reading of the Scriptures (2 Cor. 3:14.). The church reader (anagnōstēs, lector) gradually acquired an official position. John expects this book to be read in each of the seven churches mentioned (Revelation 1:4) and elsewhere. Today the public reading of the Bible is an important part of worship that is often poorly done.”
But this is more than a casual reading or even hearing, Spiros Zodhiates, the late Greek American Bible Scholar and author of the very useful Key Study Bible, gives this insight into the word “read:”
(it means) To perceive accurately. Later it came to mean to recognize.
And “to heed” – as interpreted by the NIV means to “take to heart.” The Book of Revelation is not a curious add-on to the New Testament. It is a vital, urgent, and desperately needed message to anyone who awaits the return of the King and the establishment of the fullness of His Kingdom.
So we are to read it together, to understand and perceive it accurately in order to be blessed by it. The Revelation is not just for the individual – it is for the entire assembly of the local church – not something to be speculated about for the purpose of entertainment or escapist fantasy, but so a group of believers, a local church awaiting the fullness of the Kingdom would not lose heart, but instead, persevere in the Kingdom persecution and tribulation which are ours in Christ Jesus (Rev. 1:9)
It’s sort of like saying, “don’t give up, and don’t just hang in there – overcome! Because things aren’t the way they seem – here’s what’s really happening!”