Author: Ron Graham
The Relevance of Revelation
—An overview from Revelation 1:4
The Revelation of Christ (Revelation 1-5) >The Prologue >The Introduction >The salutation
We have noted the blessings of the book of Revelation to the modern reader. Now let's look at the salutation, or word of greeting, because it too indicates the relevance of the book.
1 Revelation’s Salutation
¶“4John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace...” (Revelation 1:4).
seven churches This salutation, or greeting, shows for whom the book of visions was intended. John wrote his book for plain people. He did not circulate his book among philosophers, or esoteric groups in monasteries, universities, or literary clubs. He wrote to churches. The members of these churches were ordinary people like you and me.
So the book of Revelation is not for people with their “heads in the clouds” as some might say. It's for plain and practical folk. We should therefore expect its teaching to be plain and practical.
Although much of the book is a record of mysterious visions, the basic teaching that these visions represent is the same plain simple gospel taught in the other books of the New Testament.
Revelation isn't a strange book tacked on to the New Testament as an afterthought. It's the same New Testament message, but presented symbolically in visions.
2 Revelation’s Relevance to Daily Life
Whether we live in the first or the twenty-first century, the important time for all of us is our lifetime.
Many centuries have passed since the book of Revelation was written, but right now is when we personally experience the things written in the book. For each reader, Revelation is fulfilled quickly, and the end is always very near.
- "Your life is but a vapour that appears for a little while and then vanishes" (James 4:14).
- "All flesh is like grass, and the glory of man is like the flower of the grass. The grass withers and its flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever" (1Peter 1:24).
- "Today, if you will hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion in the wilderness... but exhort one another daily while the day is called Today, in case any of you become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:7-13).
Plain and practical people understand this, and need a book of lessons for today —while they have a today. Revelation is such a book.
3 Revelation’s Reminders of the Stages of Salvation
The book of Revelation blesses each of us personally by reminding us of the three stages of our own salvation. You will perhaps have noticed that in the New Testament, our salvation is spoken of variously in three different tenses:
Three tenses, and senses, of salvation
- “We have been saved” because in the past Jesus died to make salvation possible (Ephesians 2:8).
- “We are being saved” because right now Jesus is working with power to help us fight the good fight and endure (1Corinthians 1:18).
- “We shall be saved” because Jesus one day will come again, and we shall be there and he will welcome us (Romans 5:10, Hebrews 9:27-28).
This view of time lines up with the description of Jesus in our next lesson (Revelation 1:4-7).