INFORMATION HIGHWAY (Revelation Chapter 1 begins)

February 23, 2008 on 3:39 pm | In REVELATION FOR BEGINNERS | Comments Off on INFORMATION HIGHWAY (Revelation Chapter 1 begins)

When I was a kid, a friend of our family gave me an old Wards Airline vacuum tube table model radio, about the size of a 19” television set. It had AM and shortwave bands displayed on a projection screen looking something like our modern LCD displays. In reality it was created by a light bulb shining through a circular film listing radio stations around the country and projecting them onto the screen in coordination with the tuning knob. It also had a “seeing eye”, a green tube (a cathrode ray tube someone tells me) with lines that would narrow down when the station was precisely tuned in to a particular station. Since it had no built-in antenna, my dad helped me (or rather, I helped him!) put up a single wire aerial 100 feet long and 20 feet in the air from the front of our house to the top of the swing set at the far end of the back yard. When the switch was turned on, it provided surprisingly good reception, so much so that I had to install a switch on it to turn it off when tuning in local stations. We lived in central California at the time and one evening as I was carefully tuning the dial, I picked up very faintly an announcer giving the call letters of his station—WBZ in Boston, Massachusetts! I was thrilled to get an AM station from the opposite side of the country. While today’s technology is different (note the fact you are reading this online), the process is similar.

There are three major elements in this transmission process. First, there must be a transmitter. Second, there must be a receiver. Third, there needs to be a listener.

Now read verses 1-3 of chapter 1. Who is the true source of Jesus’ revelation? How was this message delivered? Who was the receiver of this delivery?

“1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” NKJV (New King James Version)

So what’s the big deal about all that? Did you notice who was involved in this process? God (the Father), Jesus, His angel—i.e. this message must be really important to them if both Christ and His Father collaborated and sent it via a trusted messenger. If you were to receive a message signed by, let’s say the President of the United States, the Vice-President, and the head of the FBI, you might get the idea it was a vital message. We might note in passing a verse in the OT—Amos 3:7. “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.” So when He does reveal something, it is not just busywork, but it indicates He is planning to do something and wants us to know about it. Apparently God is not trying to sneak up on us and catch us off guard so He can punish or kill us. It seems He is actually anxious for us to know His will and purposes so we can plan accordingly. And the angel referred to—perhaps it was the same one who brought visions to Daniel (Dan. 8:16; 9:21). It was this same Gabriel who also announced the births of John the Baptist and Jesus (Luke 1:19, 26). Angels have an incredible ministry to God’s people and there are many stories, both ancient and modern, regarding their activities—but that is another subject. In today’s lingo we would call these beings “extraterrestrials.” So in essence, we on earth have indeed received messages from outer space, though quite different from what scientists are looking for in their SETI program (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence).

As we now look at this passage again, we can see that heavenly beings have a vital message to transmit, the prophet John becomes the receiver, and all that is needed is an active listener(s). Note v. 3—“Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” NKJV Note that it is not enough to simply hear the broadcast or read the book. It is not sent merely to entertain or give us interesting information—it anticipates that we do something about it, putting into practice the lessons learned, the principles presented, and responding appropriately to the prophetic outline. So if you read Revelation “just for fun,” it is unlikely it will be of much benefit to you. It must be studied with a sincere desire to know God’s truth and make it part of the life. In 2005 hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast with devastating power. Before it ever developed, studies had been done in the New Orleans area to determine what to do if such a catastrophe ever occurred. However, little or nothing was done with that information in a timely manner. Consequently, the price paid for inaction was high, frequently fatal.

The story is told of a young man who went into a telegraph office years ago (one version says it was Thomas Edison) to apply for a job. There was already an office full of applicants, all talking with one another. A loudspeaker in the room was blaring a steady stream of code, but no one was paying any attention to this background noise. Suddenly, young Tom got up and walked into the inner office. When he came out, he had the job. When the others in the room protested that they had been there before him, he simply stated, “you should have been listening. The coded message coming over the loudspeaker said that the first person to hear the message should come immediately into the inner office. I was listening, I got the job.” Are we listening to God’s coded messages in Revelation? Are we ready to act on them? They could be life-changing.

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