Comfort and Assurance in the Book of Revelation
[Author’s Note: I was not going to put out any more extracts from the book on which I am working about the Book of Revelation. But lately, so many people have told me of their confusion about the level of evil in a world that has supposedly been overcome by the Christ that I feel compelled to share this section from the introductory chapter on “The Five Purposes of the Book of Revelation”. It can easily stand alone as an article in its own right. Who knows, I might die before finishing the book and then no one would read any of it! And my chief objects in writing the book are for the comfort of the disciples of Christ and the drawing to Christ and His Light of those who are potentially what I call “disciples-in-waiting”. So below you will find my 6000 words which respond to the question I get asked so much: “If Christ has defeated Satan with his death, resurrection, and ascension, how come the world is still in such a mess and seeming to get worse?” It is my gift to you…]
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THE SECOND PURPOSE OF THE BOOK OF REVELATION is to bring assurance and comfort to the disciples of the Christ in the midst of a hostile world. This purpose is of paramount importance. The reason that this assurance and comfort is necessary is because if one merely looks outwardly at the world and all that happens in it, one could conclude that Satan is the victor and that what Christ achieved two-thousand years ago was of no effect whatsoever. In fact, this is why some people who claim to be Christians say that so much of what is in the Book of Revelation and even the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24, has already past and is not of any contemporary significance. They say that if Satan has already been defeated then the state of the world cannot decline into chaos under an Antichrist. The equal and opposite error is to relegate all the major prophecies in the Book to the time of the end. Many of those, because of their unimaginative literalism, are waiting for Christ to come back and set up an earthly empire reigning from Jerusalem over the world for exactly one thousand years — a ridiculous notion which I will be dealing with in full in chapter 10. What is so often not realised is that much of what is envisioned in the Book is operative, to a greater or lesser degree throughout the entire age, climaxing increasingly as the end draws near. In fact, this is what we will see repeated over and over again in the Book, though from different or more advanced points of view. In any case, there is no need for any of these prophetic acrobatics. We just need to exercise common sense and develop a proper conception of how evil operates in this world; and chief among those conceptions would be that it must always come to a head in order for it to be justly judged.
An example of evil having to come to its fullness to be ripe for judgement can be seen when Abraham was told by God that it was not possible to go in and possess the land at that time “because the evil of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Book of Genesis, chapter 15, verse 16). Evil has to come to its fullness, its completeness, its head, its ripeness for judgement; and generally only then will God act. As Christ said to the rulers of Jerusalem: “Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the sentence of hell?” (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 23, verses 32-33). Only when that cup of evil is full will God judge. There has to be a fulfilment of evil coming to its head before Divine judgement comes, because such judgement will always be in fulfilment of justice. God is not only a just judge but He will be seen to be just.
So, if one is hard-wondering why evil people seem to be getting away with so much in this world, and even seem to be getting worse, it is because the cup of evil is being filled up until it has reached its ultimate in hubris. Not only that, but there are many conditions which have been set in place by God (generally through the mediating power of angels) which are both permitting evil to flourish and also restraining it. I will be going into this more fully in chapter 6, but suffice it to say for now that everything has its moment and a delicate balance is being upheld until those moments are right in the plan of God. Yes, the disciples of Christ can cry out, “How long, O Lord will the wicked prosper?” We see this not only repeatedly in the psalms but in the Book of Revelation too, where those who have been killed for their faith are said to be crying out, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You avenge our blood and judge those who dwell upon the earth?” (Book of Revelation, chapter 6, verse 10). And the response in the following verse is this:
“Then each of them was given a white robe and told to rest a little while longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers, were killed, just as they had been killed”.Book of Revelation, chapter 6, verse 11
Obviously, genuine disciples do not really make a big song and dance about vengeance being enacted on their oppressors, which would be like playing the victim. But this is a symbolic picture in visionary form being given to us because it is as if the blood of the martyrs cries out for that vengeance and the message is to be patient and longsuffering until “the full number” of martyrs has been reached. For everything has its moment; and in the inscrutable wisdom of God, the moment when the martyrs will be ‘avenged’, as it were, will be the return of the Christ which will take place as soon as the witness of the gospel has been brought to a close, as it indeed will be. For there will come that day when every bit of testimony about the Christ across the world will have ended and there will be no more opportunity to hear of it, for even that has its moment too. Jesus predicted the “the end will come” as soon as the gospel of the kingdom has been preached in all the world (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24, verse 14), presumably for as long as there is still someone around who will listen. Similarly, in a highly symbolic passage when the Book says, “When the two witnesses have finished their testimony…”, the ‘two witnesses’ is a symbol of the witness of the ekklesia to the world in this gospel age. (I will be saying much more about this in chapter 5, for not only is it among the most important passages in the Book of Revelation but it has often been completely misunderstood through being taken absolutely literally as two specific individuals). So, there will come a moment when the testimony of the church has been completed, and that will be the signal for multiple prophetic fulfilments surrounding the time of the end to begin in earnest. So, until that ending of witnessing about the Christ has occurred,, disciples are to patiently continue their faithful testimony about Jesus to the world, as “overcomers” (about which there will be much more below in this section) who will endure to the bitter end. For much of the disciples experience in this world will be bitter, as the entire venom of the fallen archangel, Satan, will be sprayed against them (as we see in chapter 12, verse 17, which I will develop in chapter 6 of this book). Yet, they must stand and endure!
A Chief Aim of Satan is to Undermine Disciples of Christ
One of the primary aims of the forces of darkness in this world is, by any means possible, to put disciples of the Christ in a sad, doubting, questioning and uncomfortable condition and, with those who are not His disciples, to ensure that they never grasp the Light of the Christ, thereby living and dying in darkness and condemning themselves to the awful experience of “the second death” — a chilling phrase used seven times in the Book of Revelation to refer to the eternal separation from the Divine which will be the after-death experience of all those who do not love God and who do not follow the Christ and His Light in devoted discipleship. The implied ‘first death’ must surely refer to the separation from the Divine experienced in this earthly world which comes about through moral failure, commonly known as sin — a word which in the Greek equivalent, ἁμαρτία, hamartia, means ‘to have no part in’, and it is derived from ἁμαρτάνειν, hamartánein, meaning ‘to miss the mark’, basically to ‘mess up’. This ‘first death’ nature of moral failure is spelled out here: “Just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death went-through to all people because all sinned” (Letter to the Romans 5:12). In other words, the ‘first death’ can on one level be said to be the experience when the body fails and physical death ensues, but there is also a sense in which that death is already there in the lifeforce of the one who has not given his or her life to discipleship in Christ. As Paul the apostle emphatically stated: “You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to walk when you conformed to the ways of this world and of the ruler of the power of the air” (Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 1-2). The conformity to the ‘ruler of the power of the air’ (a phrase on which I will elaborate in chapter 6) refers to Satan. One is either under the power of Satan or protected from that “in Christ”. To be under the power of Satan is to live in a state of deadness and thus the ‘first death’ will merely propel you into the ‘second death. Thus, the ‘first death’ is something in which all humans by birth participate, in which they are separated from the Divine, culminating in actual physical death. The even more awful ‘second death’ is the complete spiritual separation from the Divine which occurs after the body has died if one has not undergone spiritual renewal and thereby become a disciple of the Christ.
Excursus on the ‘Second Death’ & its Profound Implications
Before speaking any further about the assurance and comfort in the Book of Revelation for the disciples of the Christ in a hostile world, I must amplify here what I have said above about ‘the second death’. For the Book of Revelation has not only been given to provide comfort for the disciples of Christ in a hostile world but also, by way of contrast, as a warning to perturb those who are not yet among those disciples and to thereby catapult them in that direction. Many readers may now be recoiling in horror at the mention of that and, for them, not only the ‘first death’ but also the ‘second death’ may be completely new and harrowing concepts. For those who are familiar with the words of the Christ, it is not a new concept at all. For example, He categorically said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body [e.g. evil humans] but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One [i.e. God] who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna” (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 10, verse 28). The word ‘Gehenna’ was used by Christ a number of times as a symbol for the after-death state of complete separation from the Divine for those who refuse to follow Him and who prefer darkness to His Light. In another place, the Christ speaks about the great separation of “the sheep” (those who follow Him) and “the goats” (those who do not) at the time of the end of this age as resulting in Him saying to the latter, “Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, verses 31-46). A similar warning of this ‘second death’ occurs in a number of places in the Book of Revelation, where for example we read, “And the smoke from their torture will go up forever and ever, and those who worship the beast and his image will have no rest day or night, along with anyone who receives the mark of his name” (Book of Revelation, chapter 14, verse 11. Regarding that ‘beast’ and ‘the mark of his name’, I will be developing that further in chapter 6 below). Most telling, in the Book of Revelation, chapter 21, verse 8, we read this (with my amplifications in square bracketed red text):
“As for the cowardly [those who allow themselves to be governed by fear], the unbelieving [those who have no faith], detestable people [those who are, as the Greek implies, a stench on this earth; examples of which would be utter perverts and others who commit abominable acts], murderers [killing in all its forms], the sexually immoral [the Greek word there is πόρνοις, pornois, which is already a loaded word and self-explanatory], and those who practice magic arts [e.g., sorcery, casting spells, engaging in occult practices, witchcraft, using psychoactive drugs to alter consciousness or to deludedly attempt to achieve ‘divinity’ — taking note that the Greek word used there is φαρμάκοις, pharmakois], idolators [that would take in not merely those who bow down religiously to physical objects but all the ways that humans put material things on a pedestal and give them an unhealthy place in their lives to the exclusion of the Divine and their spiritual practice], and all those who speak falsehood [this is not merely the repeated telling of actual verbal lies but also the spreading of disinformation, deceiving people, falsifying, twisting, fabricating, libelling, calumniating, bearing false witness, committing perjury, etc.], their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur. That is the second death”.Book of Revelation, chapter 21, verse 8
That verse is massive in terms of its implications for so much human behaviour. Obviously, “the lake that burns with fire and sulphur” is symbolic and not to be taken literally. But it occurs five times in the Book of Revelation to refer to the ‘second death’ — complete separation from the Divine and all the horror which that entails. I have tried to picture what that would be like, but in all its fullness I cannot. It is so much outside the realm of ordinary conscious human experience that it is beyond the imagination. And if one does get any kind of inkling of it, that is usually the perfect trigger to become once more in relationship with the Divine.
The consequence here is that if one lives a life in which one arrogantly dismisses or rejects the Christ and His Light, scoffs at or mistreats His disciples, does what one wants without any consideration for others or of divine or natural law, and thinks that one’s actions in this life and world are of no eternal consequence, then one dies as one has lived — separated from the Divine. Nothing unfair about that. It was the path which was consciously chosen. It has to be said that separation from the Divine is considerably more tolerable during this life than it is after it. One can be separated from the Divine in this life and enjoy all manner of physical comforts and wonderful experiences. But these count for nothing in spiritual terms. However, so long as one is alive, one at least has the opportunity to live it otherwise. But after that, if there is no spiritual change, the ‘second death’ will seal one’s fate. For that ‘first death’ of separation from God can be overturned by being back in relationship with the Divine. When one loves God and is filled with the Light of Christ, then the ‘first death’ is nullified. One still has to undergo physical death, but that has simply become a way to morph into a heavenly inheritance rather than a helter-skelter into the ‘second death’. That ‘second death’ is something else altogether and cannot be escaped from if there is no transformation in a human soul. To get an idea of what it entails, this ‘second death’ is astonishingly a little part of what the Christ experienced for a time on the cross when He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (quoting Psalm 21, verse 1). In his vicarious experience, that ‘forsakenness’ necessarily had to happen. He underwent all that in our place, as we will discover if we become His disciples.
I know these are starkly sombre thoughts, but they are nevertheless true, and one ignores them at one’s peril. You might want to say at this point that the exercise of ‘priestcraft’ in churches has involved using these ideas as a way of controlling their ‘flocks’ with the threat of hell-fire, therefore you refuse to take them onboard. But such abuses of power in churches through playing on the fears of people in order to control them and exercise what is really a false authority does not negate the reality of the ‘second death’. Just because something is being used wrongly does not mean that the ‘something’ in itself is wrong. Cults use ‘love-bombing’ to lure insecure people into their clutches; but that does not negate the goodness of showing great love to others. The idea of the ‘second death’ may be unpopular and rejected by many, but it is, in fact, the elephant in the room in terms of any discussion on the human condition.
However, I do not want to dwell any further on that in this section as the objective here is simply to show that one of the primary purposes of the Book of Revelation is to bring assurance and comfort to the disciples of the Christ in a hostile world. Part of that comfort is not having to experience the ‘second death’. This comfort to disciples is given on both a personal level and in terms of the fact that, despite all appearances to the contrary, the Christ has already overcome the forces of darkness. A classic example of comfort being given on the personal level is in the message to the disciples in Smyrna:
“Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. The devil is about to have some of you thrown into prison so you may be tested, and you will experience suffering for ten days. Remain faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. Listen up to what the Spirit says to the churches! The one who overcomes will in no way be harmed by the second death”Book of Revelation, chapter 2, verses 10-11
There are a number of comforts a disciple of Christ can receive from that text. Firstly, when Christ and the Spirit jointly say, “Do not be afraid”, then you definitely have nothing to be afraid of! Secondly, one sees here that everything which happens to the disciple of Christ — even the seemingly ‘bad’ things — are under the controlling hand of God. So, when the forces of darkness throw one of Christ’s disciples into prison, or some other outwardly lousy situation, it is not to mess up your life but simply “so you may be tested”. God uses such situations as a way of not only proving our faith but of developing our souls. We have not been put here for an easy ride. That is how we grow, and it is a huge comfort. It is astonishing how many disciples who thought they would be timid and terrified in a threatening situation instead discover that they have courage and boldness. Thirdly, the reward for such a discomfiting situation will be receiving “the crown of life” — a reference to the experience of eternal life which is the gift to all those who have been “faithful even to the point of death”. For, fourthly, the promise here is that the one who overcomes through their faith in the Christ and His Light (thus proving that faith) will never have to experience “the second death”. (I shall have more to say about that below).
The Parallel Ideas of the 1st & 2nd Resurrections and the 1st & 2nd Deaths
This same comforting idea of not having to experience the ‘second death’ is repeated in the Book of Revelation, chapter 20, verse 6: “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection! The second death has no power over them…”. Now this is getting interesting. Just as John implies that there are two deaths, the first and the second, so there are also implied two resurrections, and they are parallel to each other. In order to understand the meaning of the first and second resurrections, one must have a grasp of the meanings of the first and second deaths. So, as I noted above, the first death is the separation from God which humans experience through their moral failure, sin, flouting Divine law. To put it crudely, as Paul says: “The payoff of sin is death” (Letter to the Romans, chapter 6, verse 23). That is the first death, which is state of spiritual death before the grave which, if not rectified by regeneration while one is alive, leads to the second death after the grave. Furthermore, the very fact that the decay and death of the body occur is as a direct result of the moral failure which is “built-in” to the human psyche as a result of the Fall of humanity at the beginning of current history. The second death, as already noted, is the complete separation from the Divine after death of all those who have chosen darkness over Light, and followed the whims of their egos instead of the will of God leading to spiritual death beyond the grave. Therefore, if the first death is spiritual deadness during one’s life, the first resurrection from that state of deadness in life involves the act of becoming a disciple of the Christ so that one is then back in relationship with the Divine. Such regeneration is like a resurrection from the dead — being raised up by God from being spiritually dead. As it has been well-put:
“You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to walk when you conformed to the ways of this world and of the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit who is now at work in the ‘children of disobedience’… But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions”.Letter to the Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 1-2, 4-5
Overcoming All the Odds in the Power of the Spirit
Many other such comforts are given to the faithful disciple of Christ in the Book of Revelation — usually involving the promise of a reward, which is typically prefixed like this: “To the one who overcomes…”, then the promised reward is stated (e.g., chapter 2, verses 7, 11, 17 & 26; chapter 3, verses 5, 12 & 21; chapter 15, verse 2; chapter 21, verse 7). The Koine Greek word translated there as “overcomes” means taking the victory, conquering, prevailing, winning. It reminds us that we are in the midst of a profound spiritual battle. Such ‘overcoming’ in the life of the disciple of the Christ takes place on a number of levels, such as dealing with any useless baggage within us (e.g., fear, anger, pride, resentment, defensiveness, and other ego-impulses) which impedes our spiritual progress or which undermines our integrity, developing self-awareness, studying diligently, dissolving ignorance through intensive self-education, dissolving naivety and openness to deception, following Divine law, living cleanly, choosing our associations wisely. In short, vigorously dealing with and overcoming anything which would give the forces of darkness a foothold in our lives.
This we do not do alone, for the Holy Spirit — an internal gift to all disciples — walks ‘alongside’ us as our spiritual guide. This is even implied in the ‘nickname’ which Christ ascribes to the Holy Spirit in John’s Gospel, chapters 14 and 16, when He refers to Him as (in different translations) either “Comforter”, “Advocate” or “Counsellor”, who is given to each disciple as an internal helper while Christ is absent during this troublesome period between His ascension and his second coming. In a very important discourse of Christ to His disciples before His death, in which He wanted to bring comfort to them, he assured them like this:
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you. Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me. The one who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him”.Gospel of John, chapter 14, verses 18-21
These promises are in the context of Him giving this assurance to disciples:
“ I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you do know Him, for He abides with you and will be in you”.Gospel of John, chapter 14, verses 16-17
So, He does not leave His disciples to be orphans but to have the indwelling “Spirit of truth”. When he says that He will give His disciples that Spirit of truth as “another Advocate”, this is one of many translations of the Greek word Παράκλητος, parakletos, which is made up of two words, pará, meaning ‘alongside’, and kaléō, meaning ‘I call’. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the One who is “called alongside” the disciples of Christ in His absence during this present age of time between His ascension and His second coming. This word has sometimes been transliterated directly from the Greek into an English word, ‘Paraclete’. Whichever word one uses, the implication is clear. When we become Christ’s disciples, to bring us comfort while He must be physically absent in this world throughout this age, He sends us the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, as an indwelling comforter who walks alongside us in this life and, as Christ says, He “will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you” (Gospel of John, chapter 14, verse 26). As if that wasn’t enough, Christ went on to say:
“I still have much to tell you, but you cannot yet bear to hear it. However, when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own, but He will speak what He hears, and He will declare to you what is to come. He will glorify Me by taking from what is Mine and disclosing it to you. Everything that belongs to the Father is Mine. That is why I said that the Spirit will take from what is Mine and disclose it to you”.Gospel of John, chapter 16, verses 12-15
So, for the disciples, the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete is the Teacher, Revealer of truth and of what is Christ’s and of what is to come, Glorifier of the Christ, Comforter, Advocate, Counsellor and Helper. Wow! That is a massive mission statement of the Spirit’s work in a genuine disciple of Christ. This why the disciple of Christ can be — as I stated above — what is repeatedly referred to in the Book of Revelation as an ‘overcomer’. Christ Himself says to His disciples, “In the world you will have affliction. But take courage; I have overcome the world!” (Gospel of John, chapter 16, verse 33). The world which Christ has overcome is this entire fallen cosmos as it exists under the reign of Satan. Now, if He has overcome it through His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, then you can bet your bottom dollar that all His disciples will be able to overcome it too — not on their own but through the strength which is given them through the Spirit of Christ within. In fact, such overcoming is one of the principal signs of genuine discipleship, which is why Christ says that the one who overcomes will be saved. Overcoming comes naturally to genuine disciples.
In his first letter, the apostle John speaks much about this overcoming on the part of disciples. Twice he says, “You have overcome the evil one” (chapter 2, verses 13 & 14), which is Satan. When speaking of these forces of darkness in the world, he expressly says to the disciples, “You, little children, are from God and have overcome them, because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (chapter 4, verse 4). That “He” who is in the disciples is none other than the Holy Spirit and, as the context in the letter shows, the “he who is in the world” is Satan along with all manifestations of what John calls “the spirit of the Antichrist” (chapter 4, verse 3). Again, in the same letter, John says that “everyone born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith” (chapter 5, verse 4).
Really, the life of the disciple of the Christ is encapsulated here because it is the life of a cosmic warrior waging war through faith against the forces of darkness, externally and internally, in the power of the Holy Spirit… and overcoming. That is what the disciples of Christ truly are: Spiritual Overcomers. And this is the message which comes through in the whole Book of Revelation: That despite any appearances which might be to the contrary — even when many of the last disciples and witnesses to Truth on earth (as will one day occur) are being tortured or savagely killed — it is the disciples who are the real overcomers rather than those who are merely physically able to overcome them. For what the rulers of this world do not understand — and what the Book of Revelation uniquely and comfortingly reveals — is that spiritual victory in the main part is reserved for reward in the afterlife and not during one’s earthly existence (which is why it always appears to the casual observer that evil seems to prevail on this earth). Only those who have loved God, followed the Light, embraced the Christ who is the Source of it, and been overcomers through faith right to the end, will receive that reward. The result of this overcoming is what is shown in chapter 15, verse 2, in a heavenly vision of the saints in the afterlife as having overcome all the venom of the beast and its satanic world-system, having not made an idol out of it (as most will) and having not taken the mark of the beast (the meaning of which we will discover in Chapter 6): “And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, beside which stood those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name”. Thus, overcoming on the part of disciples in this life means remaining utterly faithful to Christ to the end and not falling in line with the majority on this globe in following the satanic world-system and, ultimately, steadfastly refusing to give allegiance to the Antichrist and his one-world empire government.
Thus, whereas disciples will have affliction and persecution (tribulation) in this world throughout this age, they will have their reward after death and in the new heaven and new earth after the inauguration of the new aeon. “Those who overcome will inherit all things, and I will be their God, and they will be My children” (Book of Revelation, chapter 21, verse 7). Christ said as much when He walked this earth on the Mount of Olives: “The one who endures to the end will be saved” (Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24, verse 13). Thus, the greatest exhibition of faith is shown by remaining faithful to the end, despite what hardships or persecutions one may endure along the way. By way of contrast, despite all the material ‘rewards’ which rulers may receive in this life through their warmongering, scheming, deceiving and vain dreaming, that will only ‘fill up their cup of evil’ leaving them ripe for divine judgement and retribution, along with all those who follow them, as we see woven like a thread throughout the whole Book of Revelation:
“Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the commanders, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and free man hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. And they said to the mountains and the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of the One seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of Their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?’”Book of Revelation, chapter 6, verses 15-17
All of which is comforting and assuring for the disciples of Christ and highly disturbing with a dire warning for those who are not. The reason why all this comfort is necessary is because disciples may be totally bewildered by the apparent conundrum that Christ has overcome the world and Satan, yet the world is still full of evil. Why should that be?
The Two Phases of the Restoration of this Cosmos
In order to make sense of this, it is necessary to realise that the restoration of the cosmos is staged in two phases. This is currently the age for the renewal and metamorphosis of all those who follow the Christ and His Light. During this first phase, which comparatively speaking is brief and soon done with, the universe remains essentially the same, but souls are all the while being brought into the kingdom of God and those who follow the Christ as His disciples are being transformed. This is the building of what will be the population of the new creation after the return of the Christ. The second phase comes when Christ returns to bring in the judgement on the earth and inaugurate the new creation in the new aeon. It was clearly said that until He comes again, “Heaven must take Him in until the time comes for the restoration of all things” (Acts of the Apostles, chapter 3, verse 21). It was crucial at the time those words were said, which was not long after the ascension of Christ, that He was not seen as someone reigning on the earth. His kingdom was not of this world, yet the Jews — in their solely material understanding of things — believed that their Messiah would reign in Jerusalem as kings had done before. But Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, as He Himself stated. So heaven had to “take Him in”, to receive Him and accept Him as a confirmation of His ascension. Thus, He has to be physically absent for the time remaining of this age, but He has beautifully arranged to be spiritually present by His Spirit.
Reading and Absorbing The Book of Revelation Should Make you Happy!
One of the many ways that the Spirit of Christ witnesses to us is through the holy words of scripture given to us in writing. This is why the Book of Revelation is a huge part of the Spirit’s witness to us. As it says at the very beginning of the Book: “Blessed is the one reading and those hearing the words of this prophecy and taking to heart the things written in it; for the time is near” (chapter 1, verse 3). This is the first of seven blessings given in the book, on which I will be elaborating in chapter 12. The Greek word translated as “blessed” there is μακάριος, makarios, which can mean ‘happy’, ‘beatific’, ‘or even ‘blissful’! Thus, we can see from this that the intention of the Book is to bring assurance and comfort to the disciples of Christ in the midst of a hostile world. All they need to do is take it all to heart and then live as if they have done so.
So, the second purpose of the Book of Revelation is to bring assurance and comfort to the disciples of the Christ in a hostile world. I hope it has encouraged you in your own pathway through this wilderness of a world.
[This piece is extracted from “The Five Purposes of the Book of Revelation”, which is Chapter 1 of the book on which I am working, provisionally entitled “The True Meaning of Apocalypse” – A Primer in the Book of Revelation”. At present it stands at 101 paperback size pages and 35,000 words. It may be twice that size by the time it is finished. I have just started writing chapter 5 and I am up to the eighth chapter of the Book of Revelation, which contains 22 chapters. There is so much to say and want to miss nothing out. Meat and ten veg with all the trimmings is guaranteed! 😊]
© Copyright, Alan Morrison, 2021
[The copyright on my works is merely to protect them from any wanton plagiarism which could result in undesirable changes (as has actually happened!). Readers are free to reproduce my work, so long as it is in the same format and with the exact same content and its authorship is acknowledged and a link to its origin is shown]
One thought on “Comfort and Assurance in the Book of Revelation”
Jul 20, 2021 at 5:42 am
Wonderful way to approach Revelation! This outlook really does affect the spirit in positive and substantial ways. What a great portion God is for the one who trusts in His promises! XOXOX
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