by Kristen C. Strocchia
“The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what soon must take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw–that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:1-3
The Book of Revelation is not necessarily the easiest study to tackle, but it is important for the believer. Chapter 1 verse 3, pronounces a blessing on those who read aloud, hear and take to heart–that is taking seriously–this Book of Revelation.
A revelation is the making known of something that was previously unknown. The term revelation is also used to emphasize the surprising or remarkable quality of someone or something; and it is a divine or supernatural disclosure to humans of something related to human existence or the world.
And the Book of Revelation is all those things. It is a revealing of Jesus the promised Messiah. Some things that were previously unknown about Christ, are made known to the believers herein. Some of Revelation emphasizes the awesomeness of Christ and God’s plan of redemption for the world. All of the book is a divine disclosure to we humans of the true nature of our existence and the events that will unfold in the future of the world.
Most scholars agree that this revelation was given to the apostle John during his exile on the isle of Patmos near the end of–the Roman Emperor–Domitian’s reign. It came as an angelic vision that John recorded according to God’s commanded and circulated to seven key churches in Asia Minor, or what is now modern day Turkey.
On a cultural note, at the time John wrote, Christians faced increasing persecution from their Roman overlords. But John was not in anyway hindered by this threat. In fact, he identified himself as the servant of Jesus Christ. In Roman culture, the servants of very high officials [i.e. Caesar] were often viewed as more important than even the wealthy, prominent citizens.
So John boldly wore his position in Christ, defying the culture by saying that he was the servant of the Most High God. Which, by Roman cultural standards, elevated him above even the level of Caesar–though the Caesars wrongly considered themselves to be gods and demanded worship. But it was not John’s intention to have worldly standing. On the contrary, he considered it gain to be exiled for preaching the kingdom of heaven.
Are you a servant of Christ? Do you wear your spiritual identity boldly before the world that would ostracize you?