by: Elisha Garcia
The Mysterious Book of Revelation
Most of us, when we think of the book of Revelation, think of this daunting, scary, mysterious book that is filled with horror and unimaginable things that we could never hope to understand. At least, that is how I use to view it. To me, it was the last book of the Bible and the last book that I wanted to get to know. I had never read very much of it because I thought that if I did, I wouldn’t be able to understand it and it would be more discouraging then anything. However, during the course of the study of Revelation that we are going through in BSF, (Bible Study Fellowship), I have learned that not only is Revelation not discouraging, it is in fact, encouraging.
On the first day of class, we were told that the hope of the study through Revelation was to bring us into a more intimate relationship with the Lord. I thought, “how is Revelation going to make me closer to the Lord?” Which seems like a silly thing to think concerning God’s precious word, but I really thought that it was just going to be something we read and sort of became familiar with, but I would be in the same place spiritually more or less after completing the study. Boy, was I wrong. I have grown closer to the Lord in the most intimate way and we aren’t even all the way through the book yet!
Although the whole book has been equally rewarding and intense, my favorite chapter so far is chapter 5. And it is the chapter that I have been able to encourage others with. This chapter is filled with the scene of Heaven and the glory that awaits those who believe and trust in Him. Following chapter 4, where it talks about the Throne Room of God for the first time and describes The One who sits on the Throne, chapter 5 describes the fact that no one is worthy to open the scroll but The Lamb. It describes Jesus as, “a Lamb, as though it had been slain.” Meaning that although when we get to Heaven we will have perfect, holy and eternal bodies, Jesus will forever bear the marks of His love for us. Which are the scars in His side and precious hands and feet. As Pastor Skip said at Calvary on Sunday a few weeks ago, it will not be to bring us shame but rather, He is wearing them as a badge of honor. To always show His great love for us. Jesus will forever be in that scarred body for all eternity to show what He has done for us and the reason we may even live in Heaven with Him and God the Father and Holy Spirit.
Chapter 5 also talks about how when Jesus takes the scroll to open it, that angels and heavenly beings and the 4 creatures and all of the 24 elders, the number of them being ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands upon thousand, will all fall to their faces and worship Him. And how all of the creature in heaven and on earth and in the oceans and everything that has breath will say, “worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” Can you imagine that scene?! Every single living thing all crying out in utter worship for the Kind of all kings? My heart ached and screamed to join them in heaven as they worshiped Him with all their inmost being. I can only imagine that that is what is going on in heaven right now, this very second. It is an overwhelming picture. And we as believers in Christ will one day be there before the Throne of God falling on our faces in adoration for our precious Savior. I cannot wait.
Part of chapter 5 and also chapter 8 talk about the prayers of the saints being burned as incense in golden bowls and later on a golden alter before the Throne. When we think our prayers don’t reach past the ceiling and that God doesn’t hear them, we must know that the prayers of the saints, our prayers, are being burned as sweet incense right before the Throne of God! And he is smelling them as a sweet aroma, every single one. He is not only hearing them, He is enjoying the beauty of them every second. Our prayers do matter and they have the value of a beautiful scent to the Lord Almighty. They can cause our Great Lord to act and that is something beyond powerful.
As we proceeded further into the book of Revelation, we came upon The Day of the Lord. Which is the ultimate day of judgment for all mankind. And this is the part of the Book that calls us to repentance and urgent action. All of mankind will be judged. And since God is a just and perfect God, he cannot let sin go unpunished. I am finding that even when I don’t think something I do really matters, it matters to God. And even the “smallest” sin will be punished. God is a loving and caring Lamb, but He is also a fierce and mighty Lion who must discipline the earth for the atrocities that we commit. Just like a good father, He must punish His children and correct the evil in the world so that we may live in perfect harmony with Him in His perfect and glorious home that He has most graciously prepared for His children for all eternity. Revelation says, “The Day of the Lord, who can withstand it?” And as it goes through the way the Lord will punish His creation, I can see why. He will not hold back His judgment and there will not be one soul that will escape it. We must face what we have done and must answer for it. There will be no “good people” who think they are good based on their actions. We will all be held accountable for every single thing we did that was not pleasing in the sight of the Lord, for He sees it all.
In the midst of all this however, the Lord will STILL show mercy. Even though his very own creation, the ones he made and knows intimately, the people like you and me who say we love Him, yet turn around and slap Him in the face by dishonoring Him, the ones who blatantly disown Him, and the ones who curse Him, have done all this and deserve the worst fate possible, He still has mercy extended for all. He does not give us what we deserve. For the true follower of Christ, we are given eternal life with Him, despite all we have done to hurt Him. For the non-follower of Christ, he shows His mercy by constantly offering second chances until the very last second. And even still, He withholds His wrath by only destroying a third of the earth and mankind at a time. What a merciful and compassionate Lord we serve! If we could only grasp how much He loves us, and does not will that anyone should perish because of that great love, how much more would we love Him?
Our beautiful Lord and Savior not only loves us, He loves us relentlessly, fiercely, passionately and endlessly. He longs for a deep, intimate relationship with us and He never stops trying to have that with us. Even when we break His heart time after time. Even when the world says they don’t need God. When we worship other things and cheat on our beloved One True God. Even when we keep sinning even though we know it was our sins that ripped open his flesh past the point of human recognition and brutally hammered those nails into his hands and feet. Even when we know it was our lack of love for Him that put Him on the cross, to be humiliated and mocked. Even when we ignore Him, blame Him, spit on Him, dishonor Him, shame Him, disobey Him, disown Him. How many of us would still hang around if someone were to do all that to us time after time? I wouldn’t. But God does. And he not only just tolerates us… He loves us. He chases us. He calls to us. He holds us in His strong passionate arms. He holds our tears in his hand, he knows and cares about every single detail about us. He forgives us. He cries for us, He shouts to us, He hurts for us… He died for us.
We were made in God’s image and that means that the emotions we feel, are the emotions He feels as well. When we ignore Him, His heart hurts. When we turn our back on Him for something or someone else, he feels betrayed and heartbroken. When we stray away from Him, He screams, “Come back to Me, I want you!” When we curse Him, He whispers, “I love you.” He is always reaching out for us in the times we take His hand and in the times we don’t. He is always ready to run for us and take us in His arms the second we cry out for forgiveness, never shaming us with the past of our horrific behavior towards Him. But he is like a joyful Father when his child returns home. He gives the strength to overcome the Devil’s attacks against us, and the blessing of His peace and joy when we are walking with Him. The beauty of His love when we are in fellowship with Him.
Through this study I have learned more about God then I have in years. I have grown and new and intense love, respect and fear for Him knowing and learning what a good, good Father He truly is. I have discovered how good He is. And how powerful He is. How He will put an end to all sin when the time is right. How I need to repent and cry out for forgiveness and mercy. How I need to live in a way that is worthy of the calling He has for me. How I need to warn others of the coming judgment and beg them to repent. I have been overwhelmed to the point of crying because of how much I have been able to just barely grasp how much He loves me. I have fallen down on my face in raw and total worship of who He is. And that is all from a book that was suppose to be scary. If we go into His word wanting to know Him, no matter what book it is, we will get to know Him. He says that we will seek Him and find Him if we seek Him with all our hearts. I desperately encourage you to read through the book of Revelation, for it has opened my eyes and we aren’t even done with it yet! I cannot wait to get into it more. It has changed my life and it will change yours too if you let it.