Heeding Jesus’ Words In The Book of Revelation
Revelation 1:3 “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy and heed the things written in it; for the time is near.”
To most people, believers included, the book of Revelation is just a bunch of plagues and earthquakes and evil men doing wicked things at an unprecedented level. Most refer to the last book of the Christian Bible as God doing bad things to really bad people, and the wicked getting worse and worse. They are familiar with the angelic activity and the mark of the beast, and the seven churches and even some worship scenes. But do we really understand the purpose of Revelation? Who is Revelation about and why was it written?
We tend to view Revelation as a mystery that just doesn’t make sense and we are not able to understand it. Our focus is usually on the seals, trumpets, and plagues of judgment being released in the last days. Often, most people see these as future events that are very distant, and likewise, that will not occur in their lifetime or that they will not be here. The truth is that we have been in the book of Revelation since Jesus ascended to heaven and John saw these heavenly visions. The Church age began when Jesus established it and sent out His disciples.
The Book of Revelation begins by stating, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place.” (Revelation 1:1 NASB)
Notice that it is a revelation of Jesus and is from the Father, for Jesus’ bond-servants. I started this post by asking who can understand it? Jesus calls those who read, listen and ‘heed’ these words. But who are they? Who can truly understand it? The bondservants of Jesus are truly the recipients of this ‘revelation’ about Jesus. What are the bond-servants of Jesus?
The apostle Paul begins many of his letters with the statement, ‘Paul a bondservant of Christ’. Doulos is the Greek word for bondservant. We in America have no true understanding of the term bondservants. We experienced slavery and indentured servanthood, but true bondservants choose to serve out of a heart to serve their master. Thus, it is not forced on them like slavery or a need to pay a debt like indentured servanthood. No, a bondservant is bound to serve the master for life. Paul was then reminding his readers, present, and future that he has chosen to obey and follow Jesus and that his life is not his own.
Paul was the greatest example of a bondservant to Jesus that we know of. Many have come and gone and followed Jesus with some pieces of their lives modeled after Paul. However, Paul was, at least to me. The model of a true follower or disciple of Christ. He understood who he served and what his master had done for him, and what he had provided for him. Paul understood how to serve Jesus.
It is this type of person that Jesus is telling John that will understand the Book of Revelation. Many try to read and listen without taking heed. Taking heed requires us to allow the words to penetrate our hearts. We need a revelation of Jesus in these matters. Only as we surrender more and more of our lives to Him will we be able to understand. This comes through much worship, time in the word, and fellowship with the Spirit of God.
Becoming a bondservant is a process as we go from salvation to adoption and finally bondservant. We are saved as we believe and surrender our lives to Him. As we grow and surrender more and more we understand our role as sons and daughters in the family of God. We know we are adopted. Finally, Jesus takes us and strips down all of our flesh to where we depend solely on Him. We serve Him and Him alone. There is no room for idolatry.
This will become more and more important in the days ahead. We have been in the end times ever since Jesus ascended to heaven, or actually arose from the grave. The events laid out in the book of Revelation center around Jesus’ activity in the last days. The First chapter gives many descriptive terms of Jesus and who He is. Then there are the seven letters to the seven churches, which can identify the church or a particular church at any given place and time. The church is Jesus’ body. There is a lot of worship, a lamb, seated on a throne, and a lot of angelic activity.
Everything is about Jesus and Him preparing to return for a pure, sinless people who will rule the earth with Him. His bride is being prepared made up of countless bondservants who have read, listened, and taken heed to His Words. Are you one of those? Take the time, read the words, listen and heed them. Prepare now! I pray that COVID-19 did not catch any of you off guard. Perhaps we didn’t quite expect some of the events, or reactions but we should not be moved and lose hope. All of our hope is in Jesus Christ and His righteousness. Take Heed!