Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Reading the book (Revelation 1:1-4)

In John’s description of the recipients, it is evident that he has a church gathering in view because he refers to an individual who would read the book aloud. Here we have a reminder that in the early church there were not personal copies of the scriptures belonging to each believer. Instead, the scriptures were read, and not necessarily by the pastor. Whoever the reader was, he had a wonderful role in stating the revealed will of God.
The reader was someone who used his natural talent for the glory of God and for the benefit of others. Because he dedicated his talent to God, he would be blessed while he exercised it. Horatius Bonar summed up the blessing when he wrote that ‘Into him as well as out of him flow rivers of living water’.
The others in the gathering are described in two ways. First, they hear the word of God and, second, they obey it. No doubt, those who would hear and keep it are later described in the letters to the seven churches as the overcomers. We can say that the proof that we have truly heard it is that we obey it.
Both the reader and the listeners are described as blessed, and we may wonder why that would be the case. I would suggest that the answer is that they were going to discover wonderful truths about their master, Jesus. They would be informed about details of his glory and assured regarding his intentions.
As the individual read the book, he and the listeners would realise that God uses different types of literature to convey his message. In the book, there are letters for churches, there is symbolism, there are allusions to the Old Testament, there is poetry, there are songs, there are visions, there are illustrations that use existing creatures and non-existent creatures (dragons and creatures with several heads). We can learn from this that truth can be expressed in a wide variety of ways.
They would also realise that God wants his people to use consistent logic in a spiritual manner. The logic does not change, even although circumstances will change constantly. In each situation that they will face, believers are to look at what is happening and deduce that Jesus is working out the eternal plan of the Father.

By the time the reader finished the book, I am sure both he and his listeners were grateful for the book of Revelation.

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