Is there a reason why the Bible starts with Genesis and ends with Revelation? I don’t think of the books of the Bible on a continuum but a story that comes full circle—a place that starts and ends at the same point. My revelation of the Book of Revelation is how it explains the struggle of getting back to the days of Genesis.
Genesis defines who God is and the perfect human relationship with Him. You can see through Adam’s and Eve’s relationship with God, the design He had for humanity. Revelation revels Christ’s identity and the hope to restore humankind back into the perfect relationship with God while at the same time showing how broken our world is by the reproach in the letters to the 7 churches. And to think, this was the condition of the churches just 95 years after Jesus’s birth. What might the letters look like today in 2021 with untold numbers of Christian denominations. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, I imagine his vision was for one church and not hundreds of religions.
Revelation identifies Christ’s full identity and the only means of getting back to the original relationship design in Genesis. Thom Rainer in his research published in Autopsy of a Deceased Church says that 90% of churches are sick or dying. Is God taking away their lamp stands? Have you watched the documentary The Clergy Project, which in my opinion, should be renamed Atheists in the Pulpit? If you haven’t, it will have you questioning whether your pastor has lost his or her faith in God while still preaching the Word in which they don’t believe.
What’s surprising about the 7 letters described in Revelation is that these were churches of Jesus’s day. You’d think they wouldn’t struggle as much as we do today, but it appears the struggle hasn’t changed much in 2000 years. These early Christian churches stood in what is now known as present day Turkey, and yet you can hardly find any Christians in the area.
Will you recognize your church in one of the 7 letters?
- Ephesus: The judgers. They focus so much on not sinning that they lost the love and acceptance of people.
- Smyrna: The fearful. These were the suffers. Encouraged to be faithful, not fearful, so they could receive the crown of life
- Pergamum: The tolerators. They tolerated sin by bowing to the external pressure of being open-minded to the culture at large
- Thyatira: The Jezebels. Promoted and took part in sexual immortality that was widely accepted in the day
- Sardis: The spiritually dead. Active in doing good deeds but superficial because corrupt inside
- Philadelphia: The hangeron-ers. Probably the only church not rebuked. Told to hold tight even though their strength may be weak
- Laodicea: The half-hearters. These are those who believed and relied not on God but on their own self-sufficiency
These letters cover the same struggles that are going on in most churches across the country and world.
What Can Be Done?
Many people have never had a spiritual encounter with Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit. The only way to God is through a personal relationship with Christ, which means you have to get comfortable with the spiritual realm—the same one described in stories throughout the Bible such as Jesus tempted by the devil for 40 days in the Judaean Desert and demons jumping out of people and into pigs. The world hasn’t change except the demons have multiplied.
Your ability to have a personal relationship with God is a spiritual battle through Original Sin. The Good News is that God made a way to reconcile us to him. You must focus on your relationship with Christ and not by adhering to the rules. Get into the Word, pray, and let God reveal Himself to you. When you do you will have the power to live according to the exemplified values of Christ and bring more Heaven to earth.
Genesis tells the story of God walking and talking with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Revelation describes people worshiping God face-to-face. Genesis describes a garden before an evil serpent. Revelation describes a perfect city without evil.
The only way to come full circle is to walk through the narrow gate. “…For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14 (NIV). The narrow gate is an invitation from God for a personal, spiritual relationship.
If you’d like to talk more about Christ, Salvation, or the Bible, don’t hesitate to reach out for a conversation.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at firstname.lastname@example.org