Today's chapter: Revelation 1
APOCALYPSE NOW: The word 'apocalypse' is very often misused. For example, after some sort of natural disaster such as a tornado or flood, reporters often describe the scene as being apocalyptic. We associate this word with disasters because it's the first word of this final book of the Bible: Ἀποκάλυψις (Apokalypsis), which translates into English as 'a revelation.' An apocalypse can be either good or bad, and books of the Bible that reveal future events are classified as apocalyptic books (although, as we'll see, not all of the events that are revealed in this book will happen in the future. Some have already occured, and others are occurring right now).
DIG EVEN DEEPER: As we read through the Apocalypse, these daily DIG DEEPER posts will continue our focus on the practical applications of each chapter, rather than the impossible task of answering every question. For a deeper dig, I recommend William Hendriken's commentary, which is available either in print or on Kindle. It's very readable and really helps make clear all of the confusing imagery we will encounter. In a nutshell, the book of Revelation tells the same story of Jesus' second coming seven different times, each time from a different perspective, and each time with more details than the previous times. Please don't hesitate to use the comment box below to ask questions. If you're wondering about something, the chances are high that somebody else in the group is wondering as well.
HOLD ON LOOSELY: Most of the Bible's teachings are clear and straightforward. For example, the doctrines of salvation taught in Romans and Ephesians are simple enough to be understood by children, yet at the same time, the details can be described with amazing precision. Those presenting ideas that are contrary or who make misrepresentations to this orthodox theology must be called out in order to keep the church pure. When it comes to apocalyptic books like Revelation, however, we need to loosen our grip a bit and understand that good Christian people are going to come to different conclusions and interpretations. Understanding what this book is saying is hard stuff, so unfortunately many people just give up and skip over it. Others spend all of their time and energy developing massively complex interpretations and looking for clues each night on the evening news for fulfillment of their theories.
The Book of Revelation is God's Word that has meaning and application for our lives, so you can't just skip it, but at the same time, one of the first rules of Biblical interpretation that we must stick to is that we interpret the difficult passages of scripture in light of the clear passages. As we've read the New Testament this year, we've seen over and over again that salvation comes by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone, and for God's glory alone, so it's through that confidence that we'll interpret this difficult book.
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The Alpha and the Omega (the first and last) who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty (v8)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Blessed are those who read & hear these words and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near (v3)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: