Read for This Week’s Study: Rev. 1:9-18; Acts 7:54-60; Matt. 12:8; Exod. 20:11; Dan. 10:5-6; Rev. 1:20; Rev. 2:1-7.
Memory Text: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7, NKJV).
Psalm 73 describes the psalmist’s bewilderment as he observed the boastful pride of the ungodly. They lived in abundance and ease, in contrast to the suffering of the righteous. This injustice greatly troubled the psalmist (Ps. 73:2-16), who, in his perplexity, went to the sanctuary (Ps. 73:16-17). There, in the presence of God, he was given a deeper understanding of the matter.
Centuries later, an aged apostle found himself on a rocky prison island because of his faithful witness. In his distress, he got the news that the churches under his care were suffering. Yet, at that critical moment, he was given a vision of the resurrected Christ in the heavenly sanctuary. Here, as with the psalmist, the Lord revealed to John some mysteries of this life and the struggles it brings. This sanctuary scene provided him with the assurance of Christ’s presence and care – an assurance that John was to pass on to these churches and to the succeeding generations of Christians throughout the centuries until the end of this world’s history.
This week, in addition to introducing Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, we will begin looking at the first of His seven special messages to His church, addressed collectively to the seven churches in Asia, but which also have meaning for us today. Next week, we will look at His messages to the other six churches.