He knows . . .

Does the Countdown Count Now? . . . #13

Vol. 4, No. 27 – July 7, 2019

Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now, and what will take place later.  –Revelation 1:19

It is fascinating that the first major section of this premier prophetic book begins, not with the future (what will take place), but with the present (what is now). This is also true of the second chapter (and third); these sections address believers living at the time; also beneficial to us in consideration of our present day.

A proper focus on prophecy integrates the future to life as it is lived today, this week! The prophetic call and futuristic vision of John has a very practical impact on the way we live now. We can know with certainty what is ultimately coming; therefore, we can live with certainty now.

As one reads of the prophetic realities in Revelation, one would be a good steward of their understanding through reading Ezekiel, Daniel, portions of the Psalms, Isaiah, Zachariah, and additional portions of the New Testament (Matthew, and the Pauline Epistles). The Bible is a whole, not simply segmented entries. There is unity in God’s Word.

As we read into chapter two, we will need to keep ourselves aware of repetitions of five key elements that integrate the “what will” with the “what is.” They repeat to draw our attention, and to help us focus.

First Element – to the church

Regardless of what is going to happen to believers in the future, the church is of utmost concern now—the church present. The One who is the head of the Church, Jesus Christ, cares deeply about the believers who make up each local body in the believing church.

Second Element – these are the words

In the future, seals will be broken, trumpets blown, and bowls poured out at the command of Jesus Christ. In the midst of this clear prophecy, Jesus authoritatively speaks to our present situation. Every believing church, and each believer, is reminded of the supreme authority of the One who speaks to them.

Third Element – I know

Though I may want to know, even study all about future events and their sequences; it is far more important to realize that Jesus Christ is intimately knowledgeable of our current events and urgency of the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:17f). The Lord is uniquely aware of the spiritual climate in every church; there is nothing hidden from Him – God is greater than any god others choose; there is none like Him.

Fourth Element – to him who overcomes

Regardless of how others respond in the future, my and your responsibility is being obedient to Jesus’ words now! During the first coming of Jesus, the oft-repeated phrase, “to him who overcomes,” finds itself here as well. Jesus used the phrase to challenge individuals to action.

Fifth Element – to him who believes

Even though one declares belief in Christ gaining the final victory, one is to trust the Lord for the ability to overcome in the present; in their daily battles. God is in control; He is trustworthy and dependable—in an absolute fashion!

Since all these are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!        (2 Peter 3:11-12)

He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches! (Revelation 2:7)

Behold, Jesus is coming soon to take you home to Heaven; His words are faithful and true (Revelation 22:6).

Life Application

When we are part of a local church, do we ask who is in charge; who is the authority of that church? When we pick up our Bible, God’s Word, do we see it as indeed His Word, and hear it as though it is God speaking (for it is indeed)? While it is great to study the future events; greater still is the sense of urgency to share the truth of the Gospel with another that they may know the absolute truths of God’s Word and then to respond to that Word. How important is it for you to know that Christ is everywhere present and knows our every need? Further, what difference has it made in your life to know that Christ is the Overcomer? Additionally, how important is it to you to know that god is in control, is trustworthy, and dependable? Does it make a difference in how you live your life?

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Written by Dr. Larry Lightner

July 7, 2019

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