The Book of Revelation is addressed to seven first-century churches in the Roman province of Asia, and it deals with their real-life situations and trials. In the process, it presents messages relevant to all churches throughout the present age, namely, the Last Days.” Their daily struggles are a microcosm of the great cosmic battle that is being waged between Jesus and the Devil until the end of this evil age when Jesus arrives to vindicate his saints and judge his enemies.

Every man and woman who heeds the Book’s message is pronounced “blessed,” especially since the “SEASON IS AT HAND.” This last clause alludes to the passage in Daniel where the prophet was commanded: “Seal the scroll until the SEASON OF THE  END.”

Church in field - Photo by Kelly McCrimmon on Unsplash
[Photo by Kelly McCrimmon on Unsplash]

In contrast, John is commanded
NOT to seal the Book since “the season is at hand.” What for Daniel was in a remote future is a present reality for the “Seven Churches” – (Daniel 12:4, Revelation 1:3, 22:10).

This reflects the consistent New Testament message that History’s final era, the “Last Days,” began following the death and resurrection of Jesus. Satan, sin, and death were all defeated decisively on the Cross of Calvary.


Since his resurrection Jesus has reigned at the “right hand of God,” and he has poured out the Holy Spirit to empower his Church to proclaim his sovereignty throughout the Earth. The bestowal of the Spirit was and is irrefutable evidence that the “Last Days” are underway – (Acts 2:17-21, Hebrews 1:1-3).

In Revelation, the followers of Jesus are labeled “saints,” the “servants of God,” the “seed of the woman,” the “kingdom of priests,” “brethren,” and the people who “have the testimony of Jesus,” “keep the faith of Jesus,” and have “washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb.”

What determines membership in this company is one’s identification with the “slain Lamb” - his allegiance to and emulation of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Book is addressed to the “servants of God,” and they are identified as members of the “Seven Churches” or “assemblies,” the men and women who have been “loosed from their sins” by the blood of Jesus. Thereby, they have been constituted a “kingdom of priests.”

The last phrase is from the Book of Exodus when Yahweh summoned Israel to the same mission. However, Israel failed, and this task has now fallen to the churches of the “Lamb” - (Exodus 19:4-6).

When the “nationality” of God’s saints is revealed, they are identified as the men who have been redeemed by the lifeblood of the “Lamb,” men from “every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation- (Revelation 5:8-10, 7:9-17).


The Great Adversary of the “Lamb” and his Church is the “Great Red Dragon,” that “Ancient Serpent” who is called the “Devil and Satan,” the one who is “deceiving the Inhabitants of the Earth.”

Having failed to destroy the “son,” he was expelled from the heavenly courtroom. Now, through his earthly allies, he is “waging war” against Jesus by persecuting his on the Earth. And so, Satan’s war against the “woman’s seed” plays out as the “Beast from the Sea” is authorized to “wage war against the saints” - (Revelation 12:8-17, 13:7).

Moreover, in Revelation, martyrdom is not unexpected and does not constitute defeat for the saints. Satanic forces can only attack the Church when authorized to do so since the “Lamb” remains in firm control of events on the Earth.

The “saints” are those who “keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” It is their identification with the “slain Lamb” that enrages the “Dragon” - (Revelation 12:17, 13:6-10, 14:12).

In the end, the “Beast” and the “Kings of the Earth” unite to wage a final “war” against the “Lamb.” In describing this battle, John uses language from Ezekiel’s vision of “Gog and Magog.”

But in Revelation, this attacking force consists of the nations from the “four corners of the Earth, Gog and Magog… and they ascended over the breadth of the earth and encompassed the camp of the saints.” This describes the final worldwide assault against the Church, Satan’s last-ditch effort to annihilate the “saints” – (Revelation 16:2-16, 17:14, 19:11-21, 20:7-10).

The cosmic battles that are portrayed so graphically in the Book manifest in the daily struggles of the churches. The evidence for this is found in the letters to the “Seven Churches of Asia.”

The church at Pergamos lives in the shadow of “Satan’s throne.” The saints in Smyrna are under assault from members of the “synagogue of Satan.” Though local magistrates throw some of them “into prison,” Jesus lays the blame for this squarely on Satan (“The devil is about to cast some of you into prison”). Members of the assembly in Thyatira are being deceived by “Jezebel,” a surrogate and agent for the “Great Harlot, Babylon.” She is teaching her victims the “deep things of Satan.”

In the province of Asia, the churches battle “false apostles,” compromise, the “Nicolaitans,” the adherents of the “teachings of Balaam,” persecution, and so on, all attempts by the “Dragon” to derail the Church from its mission as a “kingdom of priests.” Satan cannot attack Jesus directly, so he seeks to destroy his people on Earth.


None of this means the visions of Revelation are allegories intended to teach believers how to live. The temptations, suffering, and persecutions endured by the “Churches of Asia” were all too real.

The attacks by the “Dragon” are deadly serious and have everlasting consequences. The war between the “Ancient Serpent” and the “Lamb” does consummate with the final assault against God’s people. When we focus only or primarily on the end of the Book, we lose sight of its relevance for every disciple of Jesus throughout the present age.

In the interim between his first and second comings, Jesus summons his Church to “overcome” and thereby qualify to reign with him and partake of the glories of “New Jerusalem.” Believers do this through “perseverance,” faithful “testimony,” by recognizing and rejecting the lies of the Devil, understanding the true nature of our struggle, and emulating the self-sacrificial service of the “slain Lamb.”

As Revelation puts it, the “brethren overcame the Dragon by the blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and because they loved not their lives unto death.” And by recognizing just “WHO” and “WHEN” we are – the people of Jesus living in the Last Days – his disciples learn how they must live in “in these last days.”

Already, the present age and its institutions are “passing away.” They will not endure forever, and we must live accordingly. Both individually and corporately, we are “caught between the ages,” still living in the old fallen age, but at the same time, citizens of the “New Jerusalem” that even now is “descending from heaven.”



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