What does the future hold?
Many people are infatuated with the question of what the future holds. Stocktraders, real-estate brokers, kids doing their exams, people worrying about their health or pension, it seems we all like to know what the future holds.
The apostle John, while on the Island of Patmos off the coast of present-day Turkey, received a vision from Jesus Christ about the future. This was to answer the churches in those days, as they suffered from persecution and they worried about their future.
The vision that John received was not a timeline of the future. It was essentially a view of Jesus Christ, who was presented to John as “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.” (Rev 1:5)
These three designations of who Jesus is, were to encourage the Christians in those days, and they encourage us today.
First, Jesus was a faithful witness. The Greek word for witness is “martyr”. The Christians in the Roman Empire were supposed to speak of Christ (witness) but this could be costly (martyr). Jesus suffered likewise, and he was faithful. That is what we should do in the midst of adverse circumstances: be faithful.
Secondly, Jesus was the firstborn of the dead. He is risen! This is what the church must always keep in mind. We await ressurection. Jesus was the first, and we will follow. What an encouragement for a persecuted church.
Thirdly, Jesus is presented as the ruler of the kings of the earth. Those leaders who make the life of the church hard, are ultimately responsible to Jesus. The are not independent. And our Lord will call them to acount for their behaviour.
In September we will begin a series of bible studies, both in Nijmegen and in Arnhem, on the Revelation to St John. I hope to see many of you in those studies. I think you will find them encouraging.
The book is meaty. But remember, it is intended to reveal us something, not to conceal. I think we will learn a lot together. Mainly about our Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is with us, in all cirucmstances.