The book of Revelation is probably the most neglected book of the Bible. Everywhere we hear how difficult it is to understand. Some think the signs and symbols of the book are impossible to comprehend. Generally, a negative attitude toward its content reigns. Many gospel preachers will not preach from the book. I know of one preacher who would not so much as read or quote a passage from it. Brethren are apprehensive about studying it. Universal confusion, doubt and indifference over its meaning prevail.
Did God give us a book that is impossible to comprehend? Has He, who is infinite in wisdom, given us a challenge we cannot achieve? Is He playing games with us? Has He given us a book which promises "blessedness" to its obedient readers (1:3) without it being possible for them to understand, much less keep? The answer is "NO" on all counts. God anticipated that we could comprehend its messages and keep its instructions or He would not have promised blessedness for attempting it. Perhaps, it is time we believed God's promise.
Is the book of Revelation difficult? Oh, yes, in places it is very difficult, but so are the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Do you understand everything in the book of Acts? Many passages in Acts are very difficult to comprehend. What about Romans and Hebrews and the other New Testament books? Are there not difficult passages in all of them, not to mention the books of the Old Testament? There are difficult passages throughout the Bible and we should be thankful for them. This helps us to keep digging so we can continue to understand the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hid in God's marvelous storehouse (Colossians 2:2-3). God has arranged His word so that the deeper you dig the greater the treasure. The more you find the more you wish to dig, and the more you dig the more you find. There is no end to the treasure. The blessedness of spiritual understanding is unlimited. God wants us to dig.
In many respects, the book of Revelation is no different than all other books of the Bible. It does have difficult passages and some are very difficult but some of it is very simple and easily understood. Permitting negative thoughts about the book to kill our initiative and desire to understand the book, may close our eyes to the greatest of all treasures of spiritual understanding. God promises blessedness for hearing His message in the Apocalypse (1:3). Are we to believe God? He says we can profit from its message. Whether or not we are willing to follow His instruction is a measure by which our faith in God is determined. We should study the book of Revelation.
God's people should be ashamed of themselves. If there is a group of people on earth that should understand the book of Revelation it is we who are the people of God. Why should we have to rely upon denominational scholars for our views on John's Apocalypse? Are they, who do not so much as know the simple plan of salvation, more apt at understanding the mysteries of God's will than we? Brethren, who would not teach these men's doctrines on the plan of salvation within the congregation, will readily teach their views on the book of Revelation. In fact, many of the commentaries written by our brethren are nothing more than the best of the denominational commentators adapted for our use. I think it is time we laid the denominational positions aside and dug down deep into God's storehouse for the truth and for understanding of this marvelous book.
This writer does not oppose commentaries or their use. In fact, I am the author of a commentary on Revelation entitled "The Avenging of the Apostles and Prophets." Naturally, I would like for all of you to read my commentary on Revelation because I believe it contains the truth about the book of Revelation. However, whether you ever read it or not, you can learn much from John's Apocalypse. You need only to dedicate yourself to reading the Apocalypse over and over again, studying it, and meditating upon it while continuing your studies of both the Old and New Testaments. Commentaries can help in your search for truth, particularly those written by brethren, yet you need to remember that commentaries are written by fallible men who often err. God's word is always the best commentary on every difficult passage and diligent study of it will gradually open the doors to understanding.
This Bible student would like to challenge you to include the book of Revelation in all of your future biblical studies. You owe it to yourself, your brethren, and especially to the Lord to study this part of His word. By failing to study this portion of His word, you rob yourself of God's promised blessing, and you rob God of your faith in Him which He seeks. Why not pledge today to become more concerned about the teaching of the book of Revelation? John's words are still ringing, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein" (Revelation 1:3).
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Ogden, All Rights Reserved.
This page was last updated on Thursday, May 28, 1998.