I have been reading Revelation this month, but when I heard a sermon last Sunday (Rules of the Game by Shawn Franco which can be found at cornerstone.ag/browse-all-sermons/) on Acts 8, it dovetailed completely with what I had been reading. I am sharing the key points using them as a framework to gain understanding of what is written in Revelation instead of Acts.
The amount of time is decreasing before God’s judgment.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to show his bondservants the things which must soon take place. (1:1)
As I watched, the Lamb broke the first of the seven seals on the scroll (6:1) resulting in peace being taken from the earth (6:4), scarcity, famine, pestilence and death. (6:8) The sounding of the 7 trumpets will bring even more severe conditions to those dwelling on earth – one-third of the earth, trees and grass burn, one-third of the sea becomes blood, one-third of the waters become bitter, and the sun and moon and stars are darkened. (8:6-13)
Urgency for repentance is increasing because everyone must give an account of their life before a holy God. Romans 2:5 states, “Because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” Yet in Revelation we do not read about those crying out and returning to God. The rest of mankind not killed by these plagues did not repent. (9:21).
Persecution is multiplied. The closer to judgment the greater the confrontation between light and darkness. Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 2 Timothy 3:12
When the Lamb broke the 5th seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and because of the testimony which they had maintained. 6:9
The dragon was enraged with the woman and and went off to make war with the rest of her children who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus 12:17
Suffering is Unavoidable
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you…as though some strange thing were happening to you. 1 Peter 4:12
I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. (1:9)
Ugandan Bishop Festo Kivengere observed, “What we suffer increases the credibility of the gospel.”
The Holy Spirit is not optional. He who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God. (2:7)
They overcame him (the accuser) because of the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. (12:11)
We will overcome, not in our own strength, but by faith and dependence upon the Spirit.
Victory brings Joy
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless and with great joy, to the only God and our Savior Jesus Christ our Lord be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Jude 24-25
God will wipe away every tear and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning or crying or pain. Behold I am making all things new. (21:4-5)
Although many portions of Revelation are difficult to explain, verses that can be understood provide a framework for those things harder to interpret. Don’t allow what you can’t understand keep you from the blessing of reading and studying this book as we anticipate the Lord’s return.
Behold I am coming quickly, and My reward is with me, to render to everyone according to that he has done. Revelation 22:7