Monday, October 25, 2010

A letter from God to You and me!

Rev. 1:1-6 NLT 
   1 This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, 2 who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 
   3  God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near. 
   4 This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne;  5 and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. 6 He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.

Different theologians and Bible Scholars honestly disagree over interpreting the message of this Book-- the Revelation, but there are truths indisputable in it we can draw to guide our Christian living and thinking. The letter could have been written to seven specific churches in Asia Minor between 69 AD to 95 AD. Even that is disputable with honest opinions being expressed. However, one thing is clear.  Jesus is communicating to His body- the Church. He has messages to seven specific churches but they also are good messages to all local congregations in all denominations across the ensuing two thousand years.

The second message (v3) is also clear-- that those who are willing to read Christ's letter to the local church will be blessed. Those who listen and prayerfully apply Christ's letter to their daily living will also be specially blessed by God. The letter was written by John the Apostle-- who was reported to be closest among the Apostles to Jesus. Jesus knew he could give something precious to John for communicating to His Church and John would carry out the mission. The letter was dictated to John by Angelic messengers, probably the 'Angel of God' Himself -- angelic appearance of the Triune God. It tells us that the Spirit of God is a seven-fold Spirit-- meaning all complete. Several images that John will report to us from what he was shown represent the Nature of God: all seeing, all knowing, all powerful, unconditionally loving, Perfect Justice, etc. Jesus Christ is identified as a Cosigner along with God the Father and Spirit of the letter in verse 5. Christ is called "the faithful witness to these things" meaning all that was revealed to John was witnessed to by Christ.

Whether the meaning spans time or applied specifically to them in the first century and then generally to the rest of the Church age, we can't know for sure, but we can know that Jesus witnessed it all, placing him outside of time and Lord over time. Verse 6 affirms our roles in all of this-- we are "Priests for God."  We are the ones who were called to bring others to God-- that is the role of a priest. We are called to pray for others-- that is the role of a priest. We are the ones called to teach others what God has taught us-- that, too is the role of a priest.
Your servant in Christ's love

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