In this series Alan Hill surveys some of the lesser-known books of Scripture.
It is with some trepidation that I write these last two articles in the series Scripture’s hidden gems. Many devout Christians disagree on the interpretation of this book, and I anticipate a flood of letters to the editor of ET!
Before you put pen to paper, let me say that Revelation was not written to divide Christians, but to comfort and unite Christians around a fundamental truth: our Lord is on the throne and he is coming back.
My desire in writing this article is not to cause controversy but to glorify Christ. My prayer is that by the end of the article, even if you disagree with its standpoint, you will join with the apostle John and say: ‘Even so. come Lord Jesus!’
Revelation is for many the most puzzling book in the Bible, with all its symbols, numbers, and pictures. The diversity of interpretations is legendary. For this reason, many shy away from studying it or preaching on it.
This is a great shame. Revelation is the only book in the Bible which comes with a specific promise of blessing to those who read it. Revelation was written to comfort God’s people, and do we not all need the comfort of knowing that Christ is on the throne, that Christ is coming back, and that Christ will defeat sin and death and hell?
Who wrote it?
John wrote Revelation. But this is hardly an answer at all. John only wrote down what he saw and heard. The ultimate author is the Lord Jesus Christ. This is made clear in the first words of the book of Revelation: ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him.’
The word translated ‘Revelation’ is crucial. It means ‘unveiling’. It is used in Scripture to describe the uncovering of something that is hidden and which would remain hidden unless God revealed it. But there is more. This is the Revelation about Jesus Christ. This gives us a second vital clue about this book. Revelation reveals Jesus Christ to us. We will see him in all his glory as our Saviour, our King, our eternal Lord, the conqueror of death and Hades.
One day we will all experience a revelation or revealing of the Lord Jesus. Note how else the book begins: ‘Behold, he is coming with clouds, and every eye will see him, even they who pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of him’ (1:7).
John tells us that this Jesus is coming back one day. He will appear in the sky and every eye shall see him. All the dead will be raised and they will see him. Those who nailed him to the cross will see him. The arrogant atheist will see him. The multi-murderer will see him. You and I will see him.