By Austin Johnson
Addressing the book to the “seven churches that are in Asia” (Rev.
1:4), John recorded that “the time is near” (Rev. 1:3). Jesus spoke
through John to His church because he wanted them to be prepared for his
second coming and therefore Christians needed to be godly in an ungodly
time. I believe Revelation was recorded by John when Nero, known as one
of the most evil rulers in the history of Rome, was in power. During
his rule Christians were threatened, tortured, and torn into pieces.
John’s message to the first century Christians give us clues as to what
Jesus was saying: The church needed to stand strong despite any
intimidating violence (the beast).
The church needed to stand strong despite any false teachings (the
false prophet). The church needed to stand strong despite any enticing
affluence (the prostitute).
As one reads through this highly symbolic book keep in mind that
Christians were under persecution and Jesus was urging them to be strong
during trials both individually and as His church. The seven churches
in Asia were given these specific instructions: To remember the love
they had at first, repent, and do the works they did before. To be
faithful during tests and temptations. To teach the true teachings of
Christ and nothing else. To rid themselves of sexual immorality and
false teachings. To wake up and strengthen themselves because their
works are not complete in the Lord. To hold fast to what they had, so
that not one would seize their crown. Be hot or cold but not lukewarm!
All these instructions were followed by this clause; the one who
conquers will have eternal life. It is within that clause the
understanding of Revelation is made easy for us. Be faithful to God
until death and through his grace Heaven will be our home!
- Austin Johnson serves as youth minister for the Calvert City Church of
Christ in Calvert City, KY. He may be contacted through the
congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com