Just this week I heard yet again – on the radio – a speaker, who is actually teaching through the book of Revelation, say” Please turn to the 21st chapter of Revelations.” This might seem a small point — Revelation vs Revelations — but it really is rather huge.
The book is entitled The Revelation of Jesus Christ and the first verse says it all:
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. (Rev 1:1)
There is only one revelation in the book of Revelation! JESUS CHRIST!
When we continue to misname the book and call it “Revelations” we further enhance the prevailing attitude in the church that the book is just one series of “oooohhh” revelations that are so difficult and mysterious that we will never understand the book! Even though the Word of God teaches us that:
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness” (2 Tim 3:16)
According to Rev 1:1 the whole book is one revelation of Jesus Christ. The word rendered “Revelation” in the Greek is “Apokalupsis” and has been translated into English as “Apocalypse” which means “nakedness” or to “uncover”. So one could, with good confidence, proclaim that the book of Revelation is an “Unveiling of Jesus Christ”!
Sadly, the devil has so twisted the terms around that “Apocalypse” now means something sinister or evil!!(Thanks Hollywood!)
We do not make this same mistake with “s” with other books of the Bible. For example, we never say turn to the book of Daniels, or Marks, etc.
Here is how I see the one revelation of Jesus in the book of Revelation:
Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, will manifest Himself at the end of this age to give back to His Father the earth! He will come riding with the clouds on a white horse and will deal out retribution to the enemies of God, once and for all! He will come as a Man of War.
In this final Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God the Father gave to His Son, Jesus will be known as “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth”. (Rev 1:5) As the slain Lamb, He will take the scroll – the title deed of earth – from His Father and break open the seals to bring about His Ownership of earth forever and then, at the end of 1000 years, hand it back to His Father, who will once again walk on earth as He did in the Garden of Eden with humanity’s first couple. (Rev 6-20, I Cor 15)
In this prophecy Jesus is called the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega. He will be known as Bridegroom, Judge and King!
Again and again the apostle John affirms that he is writing a book of prophecy:
“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.” 1:3
“And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book“…. And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.” 22:7,10
“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book.” 22:18
We need to get back to the basics of Christian belief and believe and heed and restore prophetic scriptures, like the book of Revelation, to the Body of Christ!
“Worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Rev 19:10
Yours for the coming King,
All men should be more concerned about what the future has in store. The great business of today seems to be securing wealth and pleasure for the present life; most people seem utterly indifferent about what is to come to pass afterward.
God has not left us in ignorance as to the future. He has given us the prophetic word to shed light on what is to come. If people were willing to seriously read the Bible, in subjection to its holy author, they would find that in it the whole course of human events, right up to the great white throne, has been clearly revealed. Anyone who earnestly desires it, may know the truth of God’s ways right on to the end.
(Arno C. Gaebelein — 1861-1945 was a Methodist minister in the United States of America. He was a prominent teacher and conference speaker.)
These [early disciples] were in such a condition that their homes were holy places. I want you to notice this, that they were breaking bread from house to house, and ate their food with gladness and singleness of heart. (Acts 2)
They did not think that religion was meant only for Sundays, and for what men now-a-days call the House of God. Their own houses were houses of God, and their own meals were so mixed and mingled with the Lord’s Supper that to this day the most cautious student of the Bible cannot tell when they stopped eating their common meals, and when they began eating the Supper of the Lord.
They elevated their meals into diets for worship: they so consecrated everything with prayer and praise that all around them was holiness to the Lord. I wish our houses were, in this way, dedicated to the Lord, so that we worshipped God all day long, and made our homes temples for the living God.
Does God need a house? He who made the heavens and the earth, does he dwell in temples made with hands? What crass ignorance this is! No house beneath the sky is more holy than the place where a Christian lives, and eats, and drinks, and sleeps, and praises the Lord in all that he does, and there is no worship more heavenly than that which is presented by holy families, devoted to the fear of the Lord.
Every truly Christian household is a church, and as such it is competent for the discharge of any function of divine worship, whatever it may be.
Are we not all priests? Why do we need to call in others to make devotion a performance? Let every man be a priest in his own house.
Are you not all kings if you love the Lord? Then make your houses palaces of joy and temples of holiness.
One reason why the early church had such a blessing was because her members had such homes. When we are like them we will have “added to the church those who were being saved.”
As the hour approached for Jesus to be delivered up to the chief priests and scribes, He longed to share one last meal with His disciples. His desire was to leave with them a deep-seated, personal experience that would be brought to their memory with every meal they shared together from that time forward. “Do this in remembrance of Me.” (Luke 22:19)
It is hard for modern man to distance himself from hundreds of years of celebrating “Communion” with a wafer and a sip of juice, but we must peel off the traditions of men in order to encounter one of the most meaningful acts of Jesus’ earthly ministry!
One thing is certain: the intimate fellowship Jesus had with His disciples at the table spilled out into the early church as “love feasts”. (Jude 12) Tragically, just a few hundred years later, as the persecuted network of house churches (Rom 16) experienced their fresh freedom and excesses under Constantine, breaking bread became an institutionalized event. It evolved into a “liturgical and symbolic act”, with or without fellowship.
Thankfully we do have a few clues to the common practice know in the scriptures as “breaking bread” from the book of Acts. There we see that the apostle Paul (who was en-route to Rome to be questioned by Caesar) and the ship he was sailing on had been blown off course and driven aimlessly by the wind for two weeks. He told the huge crowd on board (276 people), who had not eaten in days, to eat and be strengthen for the upcoming ordeal:
Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat. All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food. (Acts 27:33-36)
In the culture of Paul’s day the head of the household would break bread and pass it out to all seated around the table BEFORE they actually started to eat the meal. It was the “opening act” before eating, expressing thanksgiving to God for provision and protection.
Jesus did a similar act when He feed the 5000 with bread and fish:
Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. (Mtt 14:19-20)
I want to state the case again clearly:
In the New Testament culture there was no concept of “breaking bread” without eating. Jesus left His church an example at the Last Supper of combining an ordinary meal with a ceremony that would bring the believers together in unity and in solemnity. “For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself, if he does not judge the body [of the Lord] rightly.” (I Cor 11:29)
In his commentary on The Acts of the Apostles, Thomas Page offers us this realistic glimpse into the setting of breaking bread at mealtime.
At a meal he who presided first blessed and then broke bread. This act Jesus had performed during the Last Supper, and had by a solemn command added to it a special significance. Thenceforth with the disciples that special significance attached to the ‘breaking of bread’ at their common meals. To simply explain ‘BREAKING BREAD’ AS ‘The Holy Communion’, is to pervert the plain meaning of words, and to mar the picture of family life, which the text places before us as the ideal of the early believers.
Gathered Together to Break Bread
On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul began talking to them, intending to leave the next day, and he prolonged his message until midnight.. (Acts 20:7)
Please note that this was not a farewell meeting for Paul, for then the day of the week would not have been mentioned, but the regular weekly assemblage of the saints. They came together, according to the text, primarily to break bread, and would now include the Lord’s Supper, which the Lord established on the night of His betrayal.
My hope and prayer for the church is that we would rediscover our dynamic New Testament roots and once again gather together on the first day of the week to break bread.
– We would share our food with each other and our spiritual gifts.
– We would linger long at the table and celebrate the Lord’s goodness in our lives and together “proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” (I Cor 11:26)
I close with a passage from I Corinthians which offers us a unique, momentary glance into the inner workings of the early church as they assembled together.
“What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” (I Cor 14:26)
Yours for the Coming King,