John begins his letter by describing a vision of the risen Jesus, standing among seven burning lights that represent seven local churches in Asia Minor. Jesus knows the churches are suffering violence and persecution and that they will need encouragement to persevere. So he calls John to write letters to each church to help them choose faithfulness and overcome apathy and moral compromise. Jesus warns that the dangers of compromise are far greater than any threat of persecution and the rewards of returning to him are also far greater. He promises the blessings of a united Heaven and Earth to all those who return to him.
Read: Revelation 1-3
The book of Revelation is not a secret code or puzzle to predict the end of the world. It’s a message to seven ancient churches who were facing persecution. It’s an indictment of earthly kingdoms that makes that point that every human kingdom eventually becomes Babylon and must be resisted. The book is filled with visions and images that point to Jesus’ return as the ultimate King, where he will restore his people and usher in the new creation. This promise motivates every generation of God's people to remain faithful in the midst of persecution and hardship.
The book of Revelation is a letter written to seven churches as both encouragement and challenge. It uses visions and symbolic imagery to offer a glimpse of God's plan for a new creation. See how the strange visions of Revelation point to the fulfilment of God's promise to Abraham and his purpose for humanity.