The Time Is At Hand
Revelation 1:1-3 – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John: v.2 Who bare record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. v.3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”
THE BOOK OF REVELATION is one of the most important documents in the history of mankind. Prophetically, one can say that it is definitely the single most important book in the world. It is the only book that gives the future of mankind. As you study Revelation, you will notice that it contains more symbols than any other book in the Bible. If you don’t understand these symbols, then it becomes impossible to properly understand what the Holy Spirit is telling us through John as the revelation was given to him.
The Bible student must understand that the Bible can be looked at as both literal and symbolic. We must be able to understand what is to be taken literally and what is symbolism. As an example, the seven golden candlesticks of Revelation 1:20 are meant to be symbols of the seven churches of Asia and of the church in general. Also, gold is symbolic of deity; therefore, we understand the symbolism as the church is of God and, in fact, Jesus Christ is its builder.
It is also important to note that the book of Revelation is written from the perspective of the spirit world. We are given a glimpse of the spirit world that can become a perplexing book without the help of the Holy Spirit. The book of Revelation was written by John the apostle during his imprisonment on the Isle of Patmos. His crime: “for the Word of the Lord, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9). In other words, he was imprisoned for simply being a follower of Christ.
For a greater understanding of the book of Revelation, I would encourage you to get the ministry’s commentary on Revelation. If you are a serious student of God’s Word, this commentary will make a wonderful addition to your Christian library.
THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
In the Greek, revelation means “to unveil,” “to reveal,” “to uncover,” and “to lift up a curtain.” In the case of this book, that which is to be unveiled and revealed is what must soon take place.
Those things which must soon take place are:
The rise of the Antichrist
The great tribulation (another name for this period is “the time of Jacob’s woe”
because this time frame concerns Israel)
The battle of Armageddon
The second coming of Jesus Christ
The kingdom age
The perfect age to come
The Holy Spirit said, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” All of these end-time events and all of the book of Revelation are, in fact, revelations of Jesus Christ. He is the subject of this book and the entirety of the Bible. The Bible is the story of Jesus Christ, who He is (God and man), what He has done (died on the Cross to atone for man’s sins), and what He is going to do in the future (the subject of this book). He is the living Word. The Old Testament pointed to Him through the law, the feasts, the temple, etc. In the New Testament, everything points back to the sacrificial, atoning work of Christ and His resurrection.
Revelation 5:9 says: “For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.”
READ, HEAR, KEEP
Revelation 1:3 says, “Blessed is he who reads, and they who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” This verse plainly tells us that the Lord will bestow a blessing upon those who read, hear, and keep those things written in this book.
Let’s look a little closer at these three conditions.
The Bible must be read to be understood. One should set aside a specific time each day to read the Word of God. You should read a word-for-word translation, such as the King James Bible. If you don’t have an Expositor’s Study Bible, then you should get one. I guarantee your knowledge of God’s Word will increase. You should read the Bible in the order it is written, Genesis to Revelation, and not skip around. As well, you should ask the help of the Holy Spirit in order to understand what you are reading. Last of all, you will never properly understand the Word of God without a proper understanding of the Atonement.
The word hear means more than one’s natural hearing; it refers to one acting upon what is heard. We are to “hear what the Spirit is saying.” We are to receive the Lord’s command, and we are to act upon it.
We are to keep it in our hearts. It is to become a part of us. If one properly reads, one will properly hear, and will properly keep or do what one reads and hears.
THE TIME IS AT HAND
This refers to the beginning of the fulfillment of these things written in Revelation. Presently, we are living in Revelation, Chapters 2 and 3, which is called the church age. To be even more specific, we are living in the time of the church of Philadelphia and the church of Laodicea. Let me give you a breakdown of these seven churches and what they represent:
The church of Ephesus is called the “apostolic church.”
The church of Smyrna is referred to as the “martyr church.”
The church of Pergamos was known as the “state church” and laid the groundwork for the Catholic Church.
The church of Thyatira was called the “papal church,” which signified the beginning of Catholicism.
The church at Sardis was known as the “reformation church.”
The church at Philadelphia is referred to as the “missionary church.”
The church at Laodicea is referred to as the “apostate church.”
As one looks over the seven churches, one should be aware that the spirit of what the churches that came before Philadelphia and Laodicea represented is still observable today.
The Philadelphia church, representing the missionary church, is the true church. All true God-fearing believers are part of the Philadelphia church. You have a love for the true Gospel, and you do whatever you can to help in the Great Commission.
The Laodicean church or apostate church is made up of those who follow another Jesus, another gospel, and another spirit (II Cor. 11:4). They have pushed aside the Cross and have effected in their minds another way of salvation.
What is so confusing to many is that these two churches are intertwined together. You have some that, in their hearts, are a part of the Laodicean church, and sad to say, you have some whose hearts are in the Philadelphia church, yet they belong to denominations that are Laodicean. The time at hand points to apostasy and false doctrine. Anyone with an ounce of spirituality can look and plainly see the mess most of the church is in. The time at hand points to an increase in evil, which is rising all around us. Actually, we are living in the very time the Bible spoke of when the Word of God said that evil will be called good, and good would be called evil (Isa. 5:20). However, it also speaks of the last great outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the coming harvest of souls, and then the rapture of the church.
Yes, the time is at hand, and the question you must answer is, “Are you doing your part?” I pray you are for the time is at hand.
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