Notes on the Seven Churches (16)

“Searching the Seven Churches”

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The way, the truth and the life!

The Future is Certain – (Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 7)

This is a dramatic summary of the entire book (v7), and a great source of comfort to the elect of God in all their tribulations (John 16:33). This is the saints hope, “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). And of course, distress for their and his enemies, “a day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness” (Zephaniah 1:15). He is coming, and no, not a secret, silent rapture, but seen and heard and known of all. He will come as he went (Acts 1:11). And the prayer of his office-bearers, us that is, is, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20)! This speaks of his certain and final coming, in blessing and in judgment. Throughout the New Testament age, i.e., the millennium properly understood, we have glimpses of this final coming. There are times he comes invisibly to a nation, a community, a church, an individual, in either acts of blessing or of judgment. These are tokens of the final coming. For those blessed it is encouragement. But when he visits in wrath, it is warning, the final judgment day looms. When God’s people witness evil seeming to prevail around them, they tend to despair, but every act of judgment they witness is a further assurance to them, he is coming fully and finally and visibly to judge the world in righteousness. But here is a question. Why, when he does come, and by a multitude of ways, earthquakes, acts of terror, floods, etc., and takes people in judgment, sometimes one, sometimes many. Why do Christians as unfaithful witnesses seek to make excuses for him? Instead of seeking to bring conviction upon sinners by warning them as did he, the “Faithful Witness” (v5), “unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). The reason you don’t is because you’re ashamed of his testimony. But be warned, “whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26). The future is certain, he is coming.

For many it will be a day of mourning (Zechariah 12:10). His final appearing for the Christ-rejecting world will not be in grace, there will be no place then for repentance. It will be a day of utter hopelessness and bitterness, “the sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand” (Revelation 6:14-17)? But for the church? Complete and eternal redemption (Luke 21:28). This is sealed with a double oath, it’s firm, it’s sure, it’s established, it will be, “Even so. Amen” (v7b). As the church grows weary and faint, downtrodden and persecuted, the “Faithful Witness” (v5), seals the promise, “grace and peace to you” (v4). The future is certain, I am coming. You must surely begin to understand why the book of Revelation has become a closed book? Satan is the architect behind this, he must hate and dread it. Because it is such a comfort and blessing to the church in the midst of trial and persecution. But he, Satan, has made it so controversial that Ministers and church leaders won’t go near it. This book of the Bible is the last one that Satan wants the church to have, he hates it. And we Christians? We do his work for him by our hardness and in-fighting over what God has revealed to us, and for our good. Post-millennialists live with an untenable dream. And Pre-millennialists, by and large, are unteachable.

(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)

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