Revelation is a book that has been misunderstood and therefore closed to most Christians. This was not God's purpose for this great book, because He has written it and given the contents thereof to Christ. Christ, in turn, gave it to the angels to give to the Apostle John, who was to write it for all mankind. John wrote the Book of Revelation in approximately a.d. 96.
As we begin the Book of Revelation we should read it primarily to find out what it says about the Lord Jesus Christ and not for what it says about the future. The key phrase is found in the very first verse, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." This book unveils the Lord Jesus throughout its 22 chapters. You may ask, "What is revelation?" It is the unveiling of Jesus Christ. It is not a mystery. You may ask, "From where did it come?" It came by revelation given by God to His Son, Jesus Christ. And why was it given? To show the things that were to come to pass.
John, who had been banished to the Isle of Patmos, actually saw the contents of this book unfold before his eyes, as God transported him to heaven (chapter 4:1), to the wilderness (chapter 17:3), and to the mountain (chapter 21:10) to witness these events and record them for us. In chapter 1 we see the characteristics of the book and how it came to be written. Verse 3 promises a blessing to those who read it, for those who hear it, and for those who keep the things written therein.
Chapter 2 begins the messages to the seven churches. Verses 1-7 are written to the church at Ephesus, which was the backsliding church. This church had works but was without love. To the general public the church was successful, but to Christ it had lost its first love. The counsel of Christ to the church at Ephesus was for them to remember, repent, and then repeat the first works. Today, the works we do without love are for naught. The new commandment God has given us is that we should love one another, even as Christ has loved us (John 13:34).
In verses 8-11 we see Smyrna, the suffering church; then in verses 12-17, Pergamos, the worldly church; and in verses 18-29, Thyatira, the unrepentant church. In chapter 3 John writes to the church at Sardis, the dying church (verses 1-6); to the church at Philadelphia, the serving church (verses 7-13); and to the church at Laodicea, the apostate church (verses 14- 22).
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