Saturday, January 2, 2010

Revelations Chapter One (Part III)

By Odon Bulamba (16 February 2001)

We all know that John the divine wrote the book of Revelation. John the divine was an apostle whom Jesus loved a lot and was the last one to die out of all the apostles. When this book was revealed to him he was a pastor at Ephesus mentioned among the 7 churches. Pastor John was arrested because he preached against Roman rulers and laws. The Romans were against Christianity so it was said by them, “let us arrest and kill him”. John was arrested and accused of being a sorcerer. They threw him into oil and put him in a heated fire but it didn’t burn him. How can this be possible? Let’s think about it. A servant of God is arrested and killed, but it seems that death doesn’t want to touch him.

Why? Because faith dominated his life and he decided to love Jesus as much as Jesus loved him. When Jesus was on this earth John didn’t love Him as much, but later he discovered that Jesus’ love for him was really great and said, “I must love Him too”. To love someone is to die for them and John accepted to die for Jesus Christ. This is what many Christians today don’t accept. We fear death more than God Himself, we don’t fear sin but we fear death and forget that sin leads to death. What kind of Christians are we?

Is the book of Revelation for us today? If I’m afraid of death, can I resist what this book speaks about? This book says that John was sent to the island of Patmos. This island was 50km away from everything and on a little boat it will take two days to reach it. The Bible says there were lizards and scorpions on this island. Because they couldn’t burn John they decided to take him to the island of Patmos. John was in isolation and was hated by everyone, but when he was isolated it became the right time for God to be near him.

When we face difficult times God is not far from us, and if we have faith and consider His Word, He will bring a solution. Jesus sent His angel to visit John for he had spent two years already on the island. You might ask yourself how did he eat or sleep? Only God knows. During these two years an angel visited him. We know that an angel is a messenger from God. In a time of distress and isolation John found a visitor. How often do you visit people who are in difficult situations? There are many people in this world who suffer from sin, so how many times do you visit them? Aren’t you a messenger from God? Can’t you tell others about the salvation you received from Jesus Christ? Revelation 1:9

I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance, which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus

We know that Revelation means, “to reveal”. For a few years the church walked in darkness. They knew that Jesus would be back one day because of what Jesus said in a parable, but they didn’t understand. Jesus said, “I will reveal myself to man to accomplish what was said long ago”.

When Moses face was shining he had to wear a veil to cover what was shining on his head. When Jesus Christ came to earth people couldn’t see that He was the light. They couldn’t see that the veil had been uncovered. So the veil has been removed and the revelation is here for us today. In verse 9 John says, “I am your brother”. Even though John was a Pastor he called himself a brother like everybody else. This is how he humiliated himself to put himself on the same level as other Christians. Even though the church of Ephesus was persecuted and hated by the government, John knew Christ united it with His love. John discovered that Jesus Christ loved his dear brothers and sisters.

So who is a brother? Why is John called a brother here in verse 9? What does it mean to be called a brother? A brother is a friend. A brother is a person from the same descent; a brother is someone who you share the Word of God with. John said, “it is me John your brother”. We know that the love of God is stronger than the love of man. Don’t be amazed at how Jesus loved His brothers but rejected His family. It means that the love of God is deep. For us to leave our loved ones for the love of Christ is not easy.

John suffered and was isolated from his brothers. John said, “you are far from me, but I share the suffering you are going through”. This is the way you have to encourage others. We must share one another’s problems. John was strong spiritually and wanted to help the church. John said, “if you don’t have 100% faith in Jesus Christ you will be exempt”. So let’s encourage one another and share the same problems in unity for Jesus Christ.

How do you encourage people? How much time do you spend encouraging others? Do we encourage others to stop sinning, or do we allow them to do evil? Some Christians help others because they think it is only human to help those who are in need. Although there were nasty creatures on Patmos, God wasn’t far from him. God destroyed the power in these lizards so they wouldn’t touch him. If you can identify what a scorpion is, you can imagine how it would feel if you got stung and if you want to know just ask Oscar [who was stung once in Africa]. It’s such an unbearable pain. If you are given milk to drink you will just vomit it back up and you sweat when it’s cold.

It’s an insect that can be despised because it doesn’t use its claws but uses its tail. It means that these animals are dangerous when they come from behind. With a scorpion his face is not a problem for danger comes from the back. In spiritual words you can have situations that look good but in the end turn terrible. It means Satan can use all sorts of strategies. Satan comes the same way a scorpion does. When he finds that you are a child of God he tries to frighten you. He’ll distract you first and then what will come later will kill you.

Also there are different types of lizards. Some can be poisonous and their skin horrible, however they are nice to eat! So there are things that God gives and you think are ugly. In Isaiah the Bible says, “Jesus wasn’t much to look at”, but in photo’s you’ll see Him portrayed as a handsome man. The Israelites rejected Jesus because they stayed on the superficial level and forgot God was with them. The prophet wrote, “Emanuel, God is with you.” They didn’t recognise the truth what John was preaching at that time because they stayed on the physical level.

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