This morning I came to the Book of Revelation in my Bible reading. Suddenly I hesitated. Should I really wrestle with this hard-to-understand part of the Scriptures? Not that I doubt that Revelation is part of God`s Word, but I must confess this is probably the book I find most difficult to grasp. There are verses, and even chapters, that bless me immensely. But the book as a whole is a different thing. When are these things going to happen, or have they already happened? All these angels, beasts, trumpets, seals and groups of people, how can they make sense to me? Maybe I should just leave that part of Scripture, and go to pastures greener?
That is when my eye caught the words in the above verse, ‘Jesus, the ruler of the kings of the earth’. Just make your own list of say five to ten of the most important kings and rulers of this world. You will come up with a group of very interesting people. Some good, some not so good, and some absolutely bad. Some of them have been duly elected, some have inherited their position, others have just grabbed power. Some of them command armies that contain millions of men. Others possess riches that are far beyond measure.
These are the people that Jesus rules over. Not sometime in the future, at a time that theologians can´t agree about, but right now.
The whole unveiling of the future that is the book of Revelation, does not begin with a beaten and battered disciple on a barren island. It begins with a King ruling over all power and authority of this world, with visions of a kingdom and a priesthood under the authority of God himself. Could the book have begun with a grander vision? ‘Yet, at present we do not see everything subject to him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour, because he suffered death’ (Hebrews 2:8-9). We certainly don’t see all kings and powers submitted to Jesus, but let’s see Jesus crowned with glory and honour! In others words, choose to fix your eyes on Him, not on them!
That gives us a world outlook that is different from most people around us. And it gives us a different perspective of the Book of Revelation. It may speak about troubled and difficult times in the future. It may speak about persecutions and sufferings, about darkness and fearful things. But far more it talks about the power and authority of Jesus, about His Lordship and His kingdom. It talks about the power of the blood, and the triumph of the Lamb!
It’s not a major problem if I can’t pinpoint in time the things Revelation talks about. I can live as a Christian without understanding the full meaning of the number of the beast. I can do that because I belong to Him who is far higher than the leaders and authorities we see. I can meet the future without fear because I am bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. He who paid so dearly for me will not leave me, nor forsake me, in times to come!
I´ve made my decision, I´ll read the Book of Revelation, but not as a book about tribulations and darkness, but as a book about the authority of Jesus, and as a heralding of His Kingdom. A book about His victory and glory! Read it and take courage!