Thoughts About What We’re Reading!
This week marks the start of our Advent Family Reading Plan and Devotion Guide!
Advent (meaning coming, or arrival) celebrates that Jesus came once to save us and is coming again some day to reign and rule over the earth.
The weekly group devotional is designed so you can share what you are learning with family and friends, but we’ve designed the reading plan to dig deeper into the events surrounding Jesus’ future return.
We’ve chosen the book of Revelation for this study. Let’s start off with some important background information to help you as you read.
Revelation describes the final chapter in God’s story.
Revelation reveals God’s intention to keep every single one of the promises He has made. Every verse is packed with references, allusions, and quotations that are meant to remind the reader of prophecies previously made by Moses, David, Isaiah, Jesus, Peter, Paul, and others. As you read, it will be helpful to use a concordance or a Bible search database like biblegateway.com in order to find the original passages that are being referenced.
The final chapters of the book describe a future time of final judgement and eternal paradise.
While theologians disagree on the exact timing and meaning of many of the events in the book, it is quite clear what the final outcome of the story is supposed to be. There will be a time of judgment, based on the consistent standard revealed from Genesis to Revelation, and some will enter into eternal paradise whereas others will enter into eternal torment. This paradise will be a restoration of God’s perfect design, a new Garden of Eden that is completely free of all sin and suffering as the redeemed share in a perfect relationship with creation and its King.
John wrote the book to Christians who were trying to live out their faith in a world that didn’t follow Jesus.
The first few chapters describe the 7 churches who originally received the letter. Some churches were being more faithful than others as they faced temptation and persecution, but all had to learn to live by faith while they waited for the return of Jesus. Revelation is written for those of us “between the times.” We are blessed by what Jesus has already done for us, but we also take courage from the fact that the best of God’s promises are yet to come. Jesus didn’t just take off and forget about them, and He hasn’t forgotten about us. He is coming back some day to rescue us and vindicate our faith. The consistent theme of the book is that it’s worth it to hang on because there is great reward for those who overcome through their faith in Jesus. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Jesus wins.
A Brief Outline of the Book:
Revelation 1-3: Intro and address to the 7 churches
Revelation 6-20: God’s Judgments on the Evil World System
Revelation 21-22: Eternal Paradise and Final Instructions
Revelation 4-5: Scenes of Worship in Heaven
As you read this week about this great King Jesus and His message for his churches, remember “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3)