A view from Patmos

The apostle John was banished to the isle of Patmos for what he described as “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus’. During that time, he received the visions in the book which has come to be known as the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Many people have sought to interpret this book and many scholars and theologians declare the message it contains is and always will remain a mystery.

What I find interesting is that God pronounces a blessing upon the readers and those that understand the things contained in the book. Speaking to John. God declares "blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keeps the things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."  Revelation 1:3 (RV) How can God proclaim a blessing then hide the meaning or worse, make it totally impossible to understand. God simply doesn’t operate that way.

Understand that there is a prophetic thread that runs through the biblical narrative which if missed, leaves us at a loss for understanding the message of God’s redeeming grace. Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us that “the secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but the things that are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law." Notice that there are things that are secret and things that are revealed. The things that are “revealed”, belong unto us and our children so that we “can do” all the words of the law.

According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, the word “reveal”, which is the root of revelation, means to “make (previously unknown or secret information) known to others”. God has, from the beginning worked through the process of revelation, providing understanding to His people. However, those who reject the light of revelation are left to walk in darkness.

The apostle Peter speaking of the prophetic nature of scripture informs the church that "we have a more sure word of prophecy, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts," 2 Peter 1:19 (RSV). You see, both the prophets who spoke before the first coming of Christ and the apostle who preached after, spoke from a revelation of the prophetic word. This word, according to Peter was produced by the Holy Spirit (2 Pe 1:21).

The connection between the prophetic word and revelation is found in what John called “the testimony of Jesus”.  We turn again to the book of Revelation for further understanding. One of the angelic messengers speaking to John informed him that the “testimony of Jesus” is the spirit of prophecy (Rev 19:10). Referring to the ministry of the prophets, Peter again says "searching what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow them."  1 Peter 1:11 (RV). So the spirit that was in them was the "Spirit of Christ" who is also referred to as the "Holy Spirit" and the S"pirit of Prophecy".

As we continue the journey in “Views from Patmos” we will examine the message contained in the book of Revelation and the companion book of Daniel, which holds the keys to unlock that unlocks the symbolic meanings it contains. These two books offer prophetic glimpses into the events leading up to the second coming of Christ. You will be amazed at the accuracy of these prophetic books and the unfolding of God’s eternal plan and the destiny of the people of God.

Until we meet again,

D.A. Williams

 

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