Reading Rev. Ch.1 v 1-3.
2 John 7 gives us this very clear reminder!
"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist"
He was a weak willed, vacillating figure who stood for nothing but his own self-interest. His positions changed depending on who stood before him. And usually the one who stood before him was his wife, who manipulated him and the government.
She was a highly motivated, politically directed feminist who knew how to use her position for personal gain. There was no doubt about that! She was the brains of the duo and as hard as nails. Her ambition was never satisfied.
Their greed was finally exposed to the nation through a mismanaged, fraudulent real estate deal. Her fingerprints were on the incriminating government documents. At least one man died because he knew too much. But even then, she was so feared that no one dared ask too many questions.
Their names were Ahab and Jezebel. They ruled as King and Queen of Israel almost 3,000 years ago. They wove such a web of witchcraft that the whole nation became corrupt. Government officials lied about one another. People were falsely charged and sentenced. Justice was perverted. Some were even executed!
Only a few men of God had the courage to speak up about government persecution of the godly, and they were living in caves, living on bread and water smuggled to them by fellow believers. The prophet Elijah, the only one to publicly challenge Ahab and Jezebel, was so discouraged he begged God to take his life.
Any uncanny parallel you may have drawn between this couple and any heads of state alive and well in the past or indeed present day is entirely your own business!
The simple yet profound point I want to make as we begin this prophetic message today is, there are many deceivers and many are being deceived. Not least, many dear Christians.
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ, (which, remember is to be in two stages! His Coming to the Air for the Saints and His Coming to the Earth with his Saints.) is the vital issue of today. More and more people who call themselves Christians are disavowing any exceptions of The Second Coming. For example, liberal theologians long ago gave up their belief in the literal Return of Christ. Some of them simply Spiritualise all the Prophetic Scriptures, claiming the only "Second Coming" of Christ occurs as he is received into individual hearts.
Others go even further, treating the Apostles’ Hope of Christ’s return as a myth and a false expectation, essentially rejecting the biblical promise of the second coming and taking their place with the scoffers (2 Peter 3 v 3-4). That kind of error is precisely what we might expect from those who start with such a low view of Scripture, as theological liberals do.
But lately even some traditional conservative, professedly "Bible Believing" Christians have attacked the doctrine of Christ’s literal bodily return. A view fast gaining notoriety is hyper-preterism, sometimes called full preterism or "realised eschatology" by its advocates.
Hyper-preterists build their whole theology on a misunderstanding of Christ’s words in Matthew 24 v 34. "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place". They insist that this means that every last detail of Bible Prophecy had to have been completed before the death of those people living at the time he spoke, and actually was fulfilled in A.D.70, during the turmoil and political upheaval that ensued when Jerusalem was sacked by Rome and most of its inhabitants were slaughtered.
Now that is highly dangerous doctrine!
So I want to start this message on 'Prophecy at a Glance' with this affirmation and panoramic view of prophecy which declares my position immediately.
Now I have to say I do love this book of 'The Revelation' but Satan hates it. Of course, I believe there are two books of the Bible especially hated by the devil, Genesis and Revelation. Easy to see why!
In Genesis his downfall is announced!
In Revelation his downfall is carried out!
By the way those two books are a wonderful pair of books to study in tandem, Genesis and Revelation.
In Genesis, we have the first heaven and the first earth!
In Revelation, the new heaven and the new earth!
In Genesis, the first Adam reigning on earth!
In Revelation, the last Adam reigning in glory!
In Genesis, the night and the seas are created!
In Revelation, no more night and no more sea!
In Genesis, a bride brought to the first Adam!
In Revelation, a bride brought to the last Adam!
In Genesis, the tree of life in the Garden of Eden!
In Revelation, the tree of life in the New Creation!
In Genesis, sin, as it tears into history bringing death and the curse!
In Revelation, no more sin, no more curse!
In Genesis, sin appears for the first time!
In Revelation, sin appears for the last time!
But today, I want to draw your attention, first of all to-------
There is a Person Central to this Prophecy! V 1.
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ"
You see the entire Bible is a Revelation of Jesus Christ, cut into the bible in any part of it and it will bleed Jesus Christ! He is the one who takes centre stage in all of God's plans.
Please note this title is singular, not plural!
It's not the Revelation’s of Jesus Christ but the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
That word "Revelation" in the Greek is the word "apokalupsis" from which we get our word "apocalypse" and it conveys the idea of an appearing, a manifestation, a coming, an unveiling!
Like the statue, being unveiled, revealed, why, every eye should be fixed upon that unveiling, upon the revealing! And this book is the revealing, the unveiling of Jesus Christ to the world in all His Wonder, Majesty and Glory.
Whereas before his glory was hidden, now it is being revealed.
Listen to Paul as he writes to Timothy. 1 Tim. 6 v 15-16.
"Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; who only hath immorality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see; to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen."
That’s the way Jesus is coming to this earth the second time!
First time he came to this earth he came to a crucifixion!
Next time he comes to this earth he is coming to a coronation!
First time he came to a tree! Next time he comes to a throne!
First time he came to redeem! Next time he comes to reign!
First time he came as a servant! Next time he comes as a sovereign!
Without doubt, he is 'the person central to prophecy!'
There is a Purpose Clear in this Prophecy! v 1.
"To show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass."
Now, the word servant here means "duloy" "bondslave!"
That is a slave chosen by the master and who wants nothing else but to serve his master, he will not, he will not go out free!
That’s why every Christian is Christ’s "duloy" "bondslave."
Now, who was this book written to and for? Why, the bondslaves of Jesus Christ. And dear friend, unless you are connected to Jesus Christ that way, you will have great difficulty in understanding all it means and says.
There are two things that display for us the clear purpose of prophecy!
A. This Prophecy has Sureness about it! "Must come to pass" v 1.
About 100 to 165A.D. There was a brilliant philosopher whose name was Justin. He was not a Christian believer, but he began to study the Bible and especially bible prophecy.
As he did his intelligent mind became convinced that the Bible was the Inspired Word of God and came to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. So much so, eventually he died for his faith, and from that time on was known as Justin Martyr. I quote his own words!
"To declare a thing shall come to pass, long before it is in being, and then to bring that declaration to pass, this or nothing is the work of God." End quote!
There is sureness about prophecy because it comes from God and it comes to pass just exactly as God predicts!
This Prophecy has Nearness about it! "Must shortly come to pass" v 1.
The "shortly" does not mean that it is going to come to pass in the next few minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even years. What it does mean is, that it could come to pass any moment! That being the case we should get ready and stay ready.
And I say this dear friends, because of this one factor, Jesus has put his signature on all of this. v 1.
"And he sent and signified it by an angel unto his servant, John."
Jesus sent an angel to sign on his behalf that all John would say would be absolutely true.
Jesus is saying, listen, listen, I want to show you things which "must shortly come to pass" be ready, whatever time they may happen, be ready, be ready, be ready!
The Purpose clear in prophecy is to prompt us the be ready!
3. There is a Promise of Comfort in this Prophecy! v 2-3.
Who bear record (or witness) of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand."
What is the promise of comfort in the prophecy?
Well, we have something called the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ!
It's not the word of men. It's not the testimony of men!
It’s the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it" v 3.
There is the promise of blessing here if we read and heed!
God makes a promise; faith believes it, hope anticipates it, patience quietly awaits it.
God's promises are, virtually, obligations that he imposes upon himself.
By the way, you can never break God's promises by leaning on them!
You see many a time we hear The Word and don’t heed it!
You may say something to your child, and you know the sound waves are passing through the auditory canal, but you say to that child, did you hear me?
And what you are saying is, did it register so that you will heed it.
You see 'Prophetic Doctrine' and 'Practical Duty' are twin truths, inseparable. We are to read and heed and if you do, then the promised blessing kicks in!
And here is where the comfort comes from! Rom.15 v 4.
"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."
That simply means, there is comfort in the Scriptures, why?
Because they are the true, pure, Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. And because of that you cannot and will not be guided wrong but will be blessed through!
Which means, all that God and Jesus says can be trusted and all those who refuse to believe them will know nothing of this comfort but in fact will forever be without comfort.
Hear and heed His Word believer and know the blessing of His promises to you!
Hear and heed his word unbeliever and have the comfort of knowing sins forgiven, the joy of a home in heaven, the wonder of becoming more and more like Jesus Christ and then to be with him forever!
4. There is a Performance that is Certain in this Prophecy! v 3.
"The time is at hand."
That phrase simply means, what has been prophesied will come, without the slightest doubt, it will happen as he has said. The clock is set and cannot be changed.
The seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years are moving every rapidly toward the one goal, the complete fulfilment of Scripture.
A loving personality dominates the bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting himself whenever and wherever his people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation. A. W. Tozer.
There is, beloved, a time when the completion will come, the signs of the time are everywhere! Take heed!
Israel's Return to the Land!
Became a nation again 14th May 1948! It’s the budding of the fig tree: Matt: 24 v 32:
Dr. John Walvoord who was chancellor of Dallas theological seminary for many years and a prolific writer, said, "Israel's re-establishment in the ancient land, as was prophesied for the end of the age, is God’s principle sign of the approaching advent of Christ."
End quote! We have seen this happen in our life time!
Russia’s Rising to Prominence!
There seems to be some misapprehension that Russia is without power these days, but remember there is nothing so dangerous as a wounded bear. And that is now and has always been her sign and symbol, the great bear!
The Resurgence of Occult Practices! 1 Tim. 4 v 1.
Up until a few years ago it was thought prudent to keep this kind of practice underground! Not any more. From the leaders of our land down these days, thousands in places of power and prestige are ordering their lives under the direction of some occultist or other! In many cases it’s the occultist who are running the country or at least have a powerful influence in it.
The Reminders from Nature!
Earthquakes, hurricanes, pestilence, famine, floods. Matt. 24. Have we not seen some amazing happenings throughout the year 2000 and now into the beginning of the year 2001 as we struggle with nature throwing much at us we did not expect for this time of year. The outbreak of this awful foot-and-mouth disease that is devastating our dear farming folks. All around us the voice of God is speaking calling our world to hear His Word, heed His voice and call upon His name. The Bible reminds us, "Righteousness exalts a nation." Prov.14 v 34.
Folks, we need a good foundation, his name is Jesus!
You need to read and heed what God is saying and do something about it!
Lawrence Christon sees [an] end-of-the-decade mean mood in films like the war of the roses and do the right thing. He uses media as his main medium. "The technology of our age of miracles and wonders included the CD, PC, microwave oven, computer workplace, fax, cellular phone, aerodynamic auto design, computerized ticket sales, satellite communications, the handheld videotape recorder, the panther movie camera, colorization, the lithium-based battery, ethanol and the mavica camera." Then, ... "all these modes of communication with so little to communicate." Christianity today, vol. 34, no. 9.
The man of pseudo-faith (false or spurious) will fight for his verbal creed but refuse flatly to allow himself to get in a predicament where his future must depend upon that creed being true. He always provides himself with secondary ways of escape; so that he will have a way out if the roof caves in on what he believes. What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know that they must do at that last day.
A.W. Tozer, quoted by John Maxwell in "God's truest test," preaching today, tape No. 156.
Dear people the time is indeed at hand, let us not therefore be weary with well doing but be alert and alive to the precious truths of God and hear and heed them continually that in this dark age we might truly be the light of the world.
I hope that the day is near at hand when the advent of the great God will appear, for all things everywhere are boiling, burning, moving, falling, sinking, groaning.
Martin Luther (1483-1546)