Some time ago, my daughter, Nancy, asked me to turn to the Book of Revelation for more in-depth teaching. The show’s Producer, had been begging the same thing for months. He even changed the name from ‘Home for Today and Tomorrow’ to ‘End Time Revelation.’ But other team members balked, wanting to keep the old name. So he simply combined the two. But I have still been reluctant to do so.
For one thing, I insist that readers, listeners and viewers must know more about the whole Bible, not just the last book. As a Bible teacher, I know that one cannot grasp this last book of the Bible, without knowing more about the other 65 books in God’s Holy Word. So before exploring what men have named, The Revelation of St. John, The Divine (but The Holy Spirit calls The Revelation of Jesus Christ (verse one), I ask audiences turn to the Table of Contents in their Bibles.
The problem is that too many modern-day translations only have an alphabetical Table of Contents, which is antithetical to God’s intention, because the Bible is an historical book which moves from the first and second creations to Adam, to Abraham, through Jewish history to the birth and ministry of Our LORD Jesus Christ, and the formation and continuation of His Church.
So readers should mark (or create) their own Table of Contents thusly: I. Genesis to Deuteronomy – The Five Books of Moses; II. Joshua to Esther – 12 books of History; III. Job to Song of Solomon – 5 books of poetry; IV. Isaiah to Ezekiel The Four Major Prophets (but in 5 Books because Jeremiah added Lamentations); and V. Hosea to Malachi The 12 Minor Prophets. Thus, there are 39 Books in The Old Testament. And each book in The Old Testament refers to the coming of The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The New Testament, of course there are the Four Gospels recording the life and ministry of The LORD Jesus Christ—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; and then Acts, the New Testament book of history, establishing the birth of His Church. Next come the Epistles (or letters) of the Apostles, of which Paul wrote 14, from Romans to Hebrews; James one; Peter two, John 3, Jude one, and then The Book Revelation also by John—all adding to 27 Books in The New Testament, for a total of 66 Books in The Bible.
OK, so why the reluctance? Because this Book–which promises, by the way, to bless all who read it, hear it and obey it—also gives what could be the most damning condemnation for so many today who call themselves Christians: namely that just because someone was once born again, or goes to church regularly, or sometimes confesses knowing Christ Jesus does not mean that person is going to that eternal place of blessing and joy called heaven.
In chapters two and three of wholesale Christian Bibles, The Resurrected LORD Jesus examines seven churches and explains to each that eternal blessings are only for ‘Overcomers’. In 2: 1 – 6, while He lauds them for some good accomplishments, He nonetheless begs members of the Church at Ephesus to repent: “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent (2: 4 – 5).” Loss of the candlestick means that church loses its Spirit-filled, God-appointed pastor.
Without Holy Spirit appointed leadership, church members cannot grow spiritually. These are grave consequences, which only strong Christians can overcome. Thus, The LORD adds: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (2: 7).”
In each message to the seven churches, The Savior repeats that eternal blessings and rewards are only for those who fight to overcome obstacles and temptations from the world, the flesh and the devil put before every born-again believer in Jesus Christ. Yes, all believers will face attacks, but they must fight to overcome them (i.e. Ephesians 6: 10-18). Let us resolve that in 2017, we will fight—by getting into God’s Word much more, praying more, loving others more than ever, returning to and loving The LORD Jesus more than ever—to be the best and strongest true Christian generation God has ever known!