Assurance in Times of Stress

KEY VERSE: “I am the Alpha and Omega, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” —Revelation 1:8

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Revelation 1:1-3, 9-11; 13:1-4

THE word revelation comes from the Latin word revelatio, which means ‘disclosure of that which was previously hidden or unknown.’ The Greek word apokalupsis, which translated into English is apocalypse, means exactly the same as the Latin revelatio. Revelation 1:1 tells us that the book is a revelation from God to Jesus Christ, who in turn passed it on through his angel to his servant John.

Jesus revealed himself to John specifically in verses four through seven, and by these words gave every reason for his footstep followers represented in the seven churches to have full assurance of help in time of distress or need. First, in verse four John states that the message comes from God as well as from Jesus, and that it is God who sends peace to those represented in the seven churches. The Greek word translated peace in this instance has the basic meaning of ‘join,’ or ‘make one again.’ And this, of course, is one of the reasons why God sent his only begotten Son to die in order that those desiring to walk in the footsteps of Jesus could be justified and subsequently transformed into the image or likeness of his Son.

Then in verse five, John states that the message is also from Jesus “who is the faithful witness.” The word witness is a translation of the Greek word martus which means ‘to be a witness,’ or ‘to testify or bear record.’ We know from the prophecy in Isaiah 61:1 this was his commission from the Father. Jesus acknowledge this responsibility when he read the prophecy in the synagogue and applied it to himself, saying, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised; to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18,19) It was our Lord’s faithfulness in carrying out this commission that brought on him violent opposition and persecution during the three-and-one-half years of his ministry. Those experiences were used by the Heavenly Father to test and try Jesus as to his loyalty and faithfulness. The Apostle Paul states, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author [captain] of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” (Heb. 5:8,9) Jesus said to his disciples, and to us, “These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”—John 16:33

It was because Jesus was faithful that the means for the salvation of the church and the world is guaranteed. John refers to this guarantee when he states that Jesus was “the first begotten [born] of the dead.” It was necessary, of course, that Jesus surrender his life as a perfect man to take perfect Adam’s place in death in order to provide the ransom price for Adam and his offspring. But for Jesus to die was not enough, because even though Adamic sin were lifted from the human race, this would not give them life, because being imperfect they would not be able to keep God’s perfect law. A provision was necessary to teach the world righteousness and, by that instruction, bring them to a condition of actual righteousness. This will be accomplished in the kingdom. This is why it was necessary for Jesus to live again so that he could complete his work in reconciling the world back to God to make them one again.

The Apostle Paul tells us that it was God who resurrected Jesus from the condition of death and that it required his mighty power, “and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 1:19,20) The apostle continues and states that he has been exalted far above everything that is in heaven or earth, including the kings of earth. Then the Apostle John tells us in Revelation 1:5 that it is this great being who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. Surely we can have full assurance of his help in time of need.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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