Audio Host: Welcome to Through the Word, leading you on a journey through the entire Bible, one chapter at a time. Today Kris Langham guides us through the New Testament book of Revelation. Now to Pastor Kris.
We open the book of Revelation today, and verse 1 begins, “The revelation of Jesus Christ.” How do you picture Jesus? However you see him, get ready for it to change. Not that you’re picture of Jesus is wrong, but I can almost guarantee that it’s too small. In fact I don’t think it’s possible for us to have a large enough understanding of Who Jesus is.
The book of Revelation is a revealing of Jesus Christ in glory. I know, I know. You thought Revelation was about the end of the world. We’ll get to that.
Revelation is awesome. But the first time I read Revelation, I was lost. Dragons and demons, angels and plagues, mark of the beast, stars fall, heavens rolled up - cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria!
And that’s about what got from it. And I may have confused it with Ghostbusters.
Now here’s the irony of this book. Revelation is meant to bring understanding. Seriously. The word revelation literally means unveiling - as in revealing a mystery. It pictures something mysterious, covered by a veil, and then the veil is taken away so you can see it, so you can understand.
So if Revelation is for understanding, why is it so confusing? Why does reading it feel like I just walked into a class on advanced nuclear metaphysics?
Actually, it’s a lot like that. But think about it. Is the purpose of that class to confuse, or to bring understanding? Understanding of course. So why am I confused? Because I didn’t take the previous classes.
So if you understand the rest of the Bible first - and with a teacher to explain it - Revelation makes sense. And that’s my job, explaining. As we go, I explain it so you understand it. That’s your job. You listen, then read for yourself. Each audio is five minutes, with one passage to read in Revelation, and we’ll read through the whole book. Five minutes is short, so I’ll have to skip some details and keep my focus on the essentials - the heart and soul of each passage. In other words, I help you see the forest so you can make better sense of the trees.
And when it does make sense, Revelation explains a lot. There are a whole lot of loose pieces of the Bible puzzle that come together when you get this one placed properly. When you understand God’s plan for tomorrow, you’ll also understand God’s purpose for today.
So if this book is revealing something, what exactly is being revealed? That’s easy. It’s back in verse 1:
“The revelation of Jesus Christ…” (Revelation 1:1).
This book is an unveiling of who Jesus is. Now wait a second. I still thought Revelation was about the end of the world, right? That’s the second thing - part of it anyway. Back in verse 1:
“…to show his servants what must soon take place” (1:1).
Now Revelation was written by John the apostle. He introduces himself in verse 4. And there in verse 4, John wishes them:
“Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come,” and in verse 5, “Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” (1:4-5).
Jesus is introduced as the ruler of Kings. Ultimately, Revelation is the return of the King to establish His Kingdom. Verse 5 reminds us that Jesus freed us from our sins and “made us to be a kingdom.” And then in verse 7:
“Look, he is coming with the clouds” (1:7).
In Revelation, Jesus Christ returns as King. In the process, the world is judged. God’s wrath is center stage here, and it is fierce. Mercy is delivered too, and the gospel of salvation will be proclaimed to every creature.
Now I should point out that good, godly Bible scholars do not all agree on how to read Revelation, and I am not the final authority. But to be clear, I fully respect those who disagree with me, and I respect your right to disagree too.
The end of the world as we know it is a heavy thing to contemplate. Life is beautiful. Who would want to end this? Then I open the news. So much anger, so much hate. When will it end? Then my day starts. Another trial. When will we get through this? Then I open the Bible. The Lord has a plan. And at the end of the story, two things stand out to me: He will return, and we shall overcome.
Audio Host: Thanks for joining us for today’s audio guide. And remember, faith comes by hearing, and hearing Through the Word (Romans 10:17).
Bible quotes in NIV unless otherwise stated.