Revelation reminds us that although all the circumstances in the last days seem to point to the preponderance of evil and the rise of ungodliness and worldliness, God is transcendent and He is sitting on the throne. The Lord Jesus has won the war although the battles are still going on and the evil one is aware that his days are numbered, and he is doing his utmost to cause as much damage as possible. The book shows Jesus as God; He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End and the final judgment is drawing near and He will be the ultimate judge (See Revelation Chapter 1).
Revelation reminds believers to endure and to persevere; not all believers and churches will be faithful in these last days and many will succumb to immorality, compromise, lukewarm responses and spiritual adultery. The tares will be shown not to be the wheat and the goats will be distinguished from the sheep. This is especially so when the evil forces will seek to be the false trinity – the devil, the antichrist and the false prophet.
Revelation gives us a glimpse of our glorious hope and future – the new Jerusalem (in the new heaven and the new earth) and the wedding of the bride with the bridegroom. There will no longer be pain, sickness, suffering or death. In the midst of pain, persecution and suffering, do not lose heart for the end is near and the end is a new and glorious beginning!
Take heart and do not abandon the straight and narrow way. As written by one scholar, A day will come when Gods wrath will be poured out, when sins will have to be accounted for, when the fate of every individual will depend on whether or not his or her name is written in the Lambs book of life (Carson & Moo, 2005). Equally clear, of course, is the reward that God has in store for those who keep the word of endurance and resolutely stand against the devil and his earthly minions, even at the cost of life itself. The Apostle Johns visions are a source of comfort for suffering and persecuted believers in all ages.
Revelation reminds us to look at the total spiritual reality and not just at the visible circumstances in our lives. It calls for faith in Him and courage in the Lord. For instance, the church of Smyrna was exhorted not to fear the persecution and the oncoming imprisonment. We are to trust Him in the midst of painful situations and even when other believers compromise. The Christians during the time of John not only had to endure the wrath of the Roman rulers because they will not worship the emperor but also the persecution of the other so-called children of God i.e. the Jews and the rulers of the synagogue who informed the Romans that Christians were not Jewish believers and therefore were not exempted from emperor worship.
Nothing will more accurately reveal whether we are genuine followers of the Lord Jesus than when we are faced with crises in our lives. It may be an illness; it may be disappointment in work and career; it may be tragedy in the lives of our family or loved ones; it may be misunderstandings and accusations from fellow-believers; it may even be spiritual attacks from the evil one or even tests from our Lord. The message from Revelation is not that we just grit our teeth and endure but that we are to reign with Christ in the midst of tribulation. Because God is on the throne, and Jesus is alive and interceding for us, and the Holy Spirit is available to empower us, and the total reality includes the definite triumph of God over evil and the glorious hope of eternal life and glory with God, we ought to, and must triumph and overcome because Jesus has overcome and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
There is no place for grumbling and complaints; there is no place for discouragement, for our hope in God and the sacrifice of Jesus for our eternal salvation demands nothing less. God has given us His all and Jesus has died for unworthy sinners like us; we have been adopted to be children of the living God and to share in all the glorious inheritance in Christ. Christ is coming again to bring us home in triumph; let us hold up our heads high as members of the family of God and beloved children of the Almighty.
We must not allow the visible circumstances to cause us to fail to see the total spiritual reality. Revelation removes the curtain to help us behold what is happening in the heavenlies and the spiritual battles taking place in the invisible realm. In our weakness, our strength is in God as we learn to fully depend on Him; in our sufferings, let us realize that God is preparing us for His eternal glory and as we die daily, God is ministering life to us unto eternal life in all its fullness.