Why Read the Book of Revelation?


William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth, in the early 1800s,
grasped well the significance of the whole book of Revelation.

To a man who suffered bouts of loneliness and heartache
due to the death of both of his parents
by the time he was 13 years old
and his separation from his brothers and sisters, this book was

“a manual of comfort to the Church in her pilgrimage
through this world to the Heavenly Canaan of her rest.
It cheers with the comforting assurance,
that Christ is mightier than His enemies;
that they who die for Him, live;
that they who suffer for Him, reign;
that the course of the Church upon earth
is like the course of Christ Himself;
that she is here a Witness of the Truth;
that her office is to teach the world;
that she will be fed by the Divine Hand,
like the ancient Church, with manna in the wilderness;
that she will be borne on eagles’ wings in her missionary career;
and yet, that she must expect to suffer injuries
from enemies and from friends;
that she, too, must look to have her Gethsemane and her Calvary,
but that she will also have her Olivet;
that through the pains of agony and suffering,
and through the darkness of the grave,
she will rise to the glories of a triumphant ascension,
and to the everlasting joys of the New Jerusalem;
that she who has been for a time
‘the Woman wandering in the Wilderness,’
will be, forever and ever, the Bride glorified in heaven.”

What arrests the movement of the gospel in our midst?

The Church at Ephesus – Losing Your First Love (Revelation 2:1-7)

Not prioritizing a loving relationship with Jesus Christ arrests the movement of the gospel and leads a church to become a monument.

This church ended up losing her first love for Christ. What is the Lord asking you tod do to prioritize your relationship with Him? This church stands as a monument to remind us that one of the greatest competitor of loyalty to Jesus is serving Him.

The Church at Smyrna – Suffering and Persecution (Revelation 2:8-11)

Suffering and persecution can arrest the movement of the gospel and cause a church to become a monument.

Smyrna is a fitting name. It means myrrh. Myrrh is a perfume whose fragrance is released by crushing. Here was a church that was being crushed through persecution. There are forces arrayed against the church to destroy the movement and advance of the gospel. Polycarp, who was the pastor of the church in Smyrna, responded to those threatening to kill him: “For eighty-six years I have served him, and he has done me no wrong; how then can I blaspheme my king who saved me?”

The Church at Pergamum – Doctrinal Compromise (Revelation 2:12-17)

Doctrinal compromise arrests the movement of the gospel and leads to a church becoming a monument.

Church at Thyatira – Moral Compromise (Revelation 2:18-29)

Moral compromise arrests the movement of the gospel and causes a church to become a monument.

Immorality, over-assimilating to the values, priorities, and commitments of our culture makes for a worldly church. Not embracing God’s passion for purity leads to becoming a monument and curtails the movement of the gospel.

Church at Sardis – Rampant hypocrisy (Revelation 3:1-6)

Rampant hypocrisy arrests the movement of the gospel and causes a church to become a monument.

The Church at Laodicea – Lukewarm Faith (Revelation 3:14-22)

A lukewarm faith arrests the movement of the gospel and leads a church to become a monument.

May the Lord give us grace to become more like the church at Philadelphia that seized open doors for effective and fruitful ministry and that patiently endured hardship that came into their lives because of their loyalty to the gospel of Jesus Christ (Revelation 3:7-13).