The Apocalypse

Note from Jesus

Dear Precious One,

During the first few decades after the completion of My incarnation on earth, sporadic persecution, seizure of properties, ostracism, prejudice, oppression, and executions were brought against My disciples. These persecutions were not throughout the Roman Empire, but there were several times of intense persecution tied to emperors of Rome.

Nero was well known as a persecutor because of his power and time in history, as well as a number of events that happened under his rule. For example, there was the fire in Rome and his distaste for Christians as evidenced by the blaming of Christians for the fire and the subsequent execution of many of My disciples. Near the end of the first century, persecution erupted in Asia Minor connected to a cult that honored the emperor Domitian as “lord and god” — language almost identical to Thomas’ confession of Me after My resurrection (John 20:28). Some even hinted that Domitian was really Nero revived from the dead.

Christians in Asia Minor — including in the cities listed at the end of your verses today — faced very difficult circumstances. My followers would call no one “Lord and God” but Me. Yet, any time they went to the market, visited the theater, went to their trade guild meetings, did business with the banks, or met politicians or members of the military in the street, they could be challenged to use those words to describe Domitian. When they refused, they faced severe reprisals as politicians in Asia Minor courted the favor and blessing of Domitian as they did with many emperors. The book of Revelation was written to give My disciples hope and remind them of their ultimate victory in Me.

Over the next several days, we complete your journey through the New Testament. Our focus will be this Apocalypse: the message you now know as the book of Revelation. Because of his faith, My beloved disciple, John, was exiled off the coast of Asia Minor on the Isle of Patmos. I gave him this message on a Sunday. It was an unveiling or revelation in vision form that contained My message of encouragement to help the churches in Asia Minor as My precious people were facing hostility and persecution. The apocalyptic images of this book were well known when John wrote down this heavenly vision. The underlying message is pretty straightforward and clear. Unfortunately, this core message has often gotten lost in all the fascination with trying to identify the symbols and apply them to exact events and times in your day.

The message basically is that Satan has used evil people to corrupt everything that humanity touches, especially places where humans come to power — for example, in the propaganda of politics, the use of the military, and the perversion of religion. In their corrupted form, the evil one has used these venues to mount pressure and persecution on My church and the people who are part of My family. Human and satanic powers were manipulating political agendas and propaganda, misusing the military, and corrupting religion. All these forces aligned to oppose My message, My church, and My people. The result was that the situation on earth looked bleak and hopeless when John received the Revelation. Yet, if My people remained faithful, they would share in My victory. The prayers of the martyrs and the persecuted were heard in heaven by the Father. The Spirit worked in the affairs of both human history and human powers to remove evil from its thrones of power. I would bring My people ultimate deliverance and victory.

This cycle (evil people, alignment of powers, persecution, prayer for deliverance, and liberation) has been repeated down through history. Time is also moving toward an ultimate climax in which I will bring the final and ultimate victory for My church and her people. Evil will be banished. The evil one’s power to inflict hurt, damage, and death on My people will be stopped completely and eternally. The separation of the faithful from the Father’s throne will be removed. My people will enter into Our presence — the presence of the Father, Son, and Spirit. They will enjoy the blessings of unending life with Us in joyful fellowship and celebration.

Today, we begin this last part of our year-long journey through the New Testament. Be blessed. Be faithful. Be confident. My resurrection guarantees your victory. My return guarantees your life, and your faithfulness will not be forgotten. My place in glory guarantees your joy will be unending.

Verses to Live

Read these verses slowly and carefully several times. Let the key words melt into your heart. Read these verses out loud. This is a book, an unveiling of My splendor and glory, that was written for your assurance and as a reminder that no matter when or where you live or how difficult the times, your victory with Me is assured and the evil that opposes and oppresses you won’t last.

This is the revelation of Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King: an account of visions and a heavenly journey. God granted this to Him so He would show His followers the realities that are already breaking into the world and soon will be fulfilled. Through His heavenly messenger, He revealed to His servant John signs and insight into these mysteries. John, in turn, gave witness to the word of God and to the glorious truth revealed about Jesus, the Anointed One, the Chosen Ruler, by carefully describing everything he saw.

Blessings come to those who read and proclaim these words aloud; blessings come to those who listen closely and put the prophetic words recorded here into practice. The finale is approaching.

I, John, to the seven churches in Asia:

May you experience God’s favor and rest in the peace that comes from the One Who is, the One Who was, and the One Who is coming; from the seven Spirits, the Perfect Spirit, constantly before God’s throne; and from Jesus the Anointed, the Witness Who is true and faithful, the first to emerge from death’s cold womb, the chosen Ruler over all the kings and rulers of the earth.

To the One Who loves us and liberated us from the grip of our evil deeds through His very own blood and Who established us to be His kingdom and priests for God, His Father. May glory and power be His throughout all the ages. Amen.

Look! He is coming with the clouds, in glory.

He will capture every eye,

Even of those who pierced Him through.

All the nations of the earth will be pierced with grief when He appears.

Yes, may all this be done according to His plan. Amen.

Lord God:

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the very beginning and the very end, the One Who is, the One Who was, and the One Who is coming: the All Powerful.

I, John, your brother who shares with you this journey in persecution and the establishment of the Kingdom and endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the ministry of the word of God and my testimony about Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day (the first day of the week), and I heard a voice behind me. It sounded like the blast of a trumpet.

A Voice:

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the very beginning and the very end. Make a book of what you see, write it down, and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

(Revelation 1:1-11)

Response in Prayer

O Father, with Christians facing martyrdom in many places in the world, with political powers in conflict, with many traditional enemies now at such great odds, I am thankful to have this closing Revelation from Jesus. Part of my human spirit is deeply troubled and upset with all that is happening and with worries about things rushing toward impending doom. I take comfort in Jesus’ promise to be present, to be our Deliverer, and to be Lord through all times. I commit to being faithful no matter what history or the powers that dominate our world do. But I ask for strength and courage. I do not want to be cynical or despairing. I don’t want to be blind and ignorant of realities. I don’t want to be afraid or worried. I want to live for Jesus, in Whose name I pray and in Whom I know is ultimate deliverance. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.