Thoughts About What We’re Reading!
This Advent season we are studying the book of Revelation as we learn what it means to live “between the times.” Advent (meaning coming, or arrival) celebrates that Jesus came once to save us and is coming again someday to reign and rule over the earth. Christ came once as a suffering servant and will return again someday in glory and power.
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.
In last week’s blog, we learned that Revelation describes the final chapter in God’s great story and that the book ends with the description of a future time of final judgment and eternal paradise. We saw that John wrote the book to Christians who were trying to live out their faith in a world that didn’t follow Jesus.
As you read this week you will come across the outpouring of God’s justice on an evil world system. Revelation uses words like judgment, wrath, woe, and plague to describe God’s actions.
These judgments are organized by the releasing of 7 seals (Revelation 6:1-8:1), the blowing of 7 trumpets (Revelation 8:6-11:18), and the pouring out of 7 bowls of plagues (Revelation 15:1-16:21). Each set of 7 judgments includes 4 judgments on earth, plus 3 cosmic judgments.
These judgments happen in the context of a great conflict which is described that reminds the reader of the Serpent and the evil city of Babel from Genesis, who stand in opposition to the savior Jesus. God’s Kingdom and Satan’s earthly kingdom are at war, but there is a clear and definite victor at the end of the battle.
This section also includes several interludes which remind the reader of God’s heart for His people. We read about the sealing of the descendants of Israel, of vindication for the martyr, and of Christ’s witnesses being resurrected from the dead.
Though there are many different interpretations of the exact nature and timing of these events, the intended message is clear for those of us who live “between the times” and await the final return of Jesus: On earth we are engaged in a temporary struggle. This world and our flesh war against the Creator, but one day the King will institute justice. For those opposed to Him, His justice will be poured out in judgment. For those who put their faith in Jesus, His justice will be poured out on our behalf to rescue and redeem us.
What about you? When He returns will you be ready? Do you know which team you are aligned to in the midst of this conflict? Do you see godliness and faith as matters of cosmic importance, or do you trivialize them in light of more “urgent,” yet temporary values?