Rev. 1:1-8 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,  who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.  Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.  John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,  and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—  and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.  Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.  "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
This morning’s musings are about the book or Revelation. As you all know, Revelation is a book that people have mixed reactions about. For many people the book of Revelation terrifies them. The vivid pictures of God’s wrath being poured out on the earth are frightening indeed. If you are reading this and you haven’t made peace with God through Jesus Christ you have reason to be frightened. The wrath and the judgment described in Revelation will be poured out on all those who have rejected God’s provision of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Even though many people are frightened by Revelation, most continue to be curious about its prophecies. You see most people want to know what the future holds. Revelation does give us some very important details about the future. The most important detail being that Jesus Christ is coming back to defeat the forces of evil and claim His bride the church.
Unfortunately, some people have tried use the book of Revelation as a manual for date setting. The have misunderstood why God has given us this book. God did not give us the book of Revelation for date setting. He gave it to us to provide hope for the future. Also, God gave us the book of Revelation so we would be able to see His complete redemptive program.
To fully comprehend the purpose of the book of Revelations we must recognize that it had a clear meaning and message for the Christians who first received it. The original recipients of Revelation were under severe persecution. Even worse times would follow. Literally millions of Christians would be slaughtered over the next few hundred years. Therefore, they need to be encouraged to persevere and stand firm in their faith. They needed to be reminded that God is in complete control and that righteousness will be rewarded and evil will be judged. We must keep this fact in mind as we study the book.
Folks, I believe persecution of Christians will intensify before Christ returns. This will likely include America. All over this planet people are laying down their lives for Christ. 2,000 Christians a day are martyred for the cause of Christ. American Christians have enjoyed a long season of respite from persecution. That is not the norm. Persecution will soon reach our shores and some of us may be called upon to lay down our lives. This is precisely why we need to study the book of Revelation. We will need the same encouragement and hope that it provided its original recipients some 1900 years ago.
I recognize that many of you have been taught to believe that the rapture is going to save you from the troubles to come. This is a teaching I also believed for many years. I think it is important for you to know that this view is only 150 years old. No one in the early church or any Christian for several centuries believed this. I personally believe this view is dangerous because it causes many Christians to have a false sense of security and an escapist mentality. We have eternal security in Christ , but Jesus promised us that we would have tribulation in this world. Jesus laid down his life and each of the apostles laid down their lives. Millions of Christians have laid down their lives since. Who are we to think that we will be any different?
I recognize that much of what I have just said may be unnerving or cause fear. Don’t be afraid. John 16:33 says, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."