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The Path of Life - The Book of Revelation
Week 44, 2016
The Book of Revelation was the history of the church and the world through the church age, written in advance. We can now understand it with greater clarity as we stand at the end looking back on what transpired. We see what opened “the gates of hell” into the church, and we now see what will close them. We can see how what was prophesied happened as well as what must yet be fulfilled.
The basic requirement for understanding the Book of Revelation is to understand that it is first and foremost a revelation of Christ. The next requirement is that it was given to Jesus to give to His “bondservants,” so only those who have taken up the life of true bondservants can truly understand it. This revelation gives bondservants clarity through some of the darkest times at the end of the age. As the prophecies of Scripture declare, these will experience increasing light and glory when the world goes through its greatest tribulation. We are also assured that the nations will come to their light (see Isaiah 60:1-3).
The “path of life” is just that—the path of life in abundance. When we are on this path, we become increasingly alive because we get closer to the Prince of Life. Love is the basic food we partake of on this path. As we walk it, we grow continually in our love for God and for one another. As we grow in this, we begin to see events and other people through the eyes of redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. This sums up the purpose of Christ in this age.
This does not mean we don’t see other people’s sin. Neither will we overlook their deceptions or their false teachings and practices, if they have them. Yet we see to help them, not condemn them. Jesus did not come the first time to condemn the world—it was already condemned. He came to save it. He is not coming back to condemn it, but to “restore all things.”
We should look back at even the most diabolical evils of the church seeking her redemption, learning from these mistakes to stop repeating the cycle. We look at present problems not to condemn, but to evaluate how to lead toward redemption, reconciliation, and restoration in Christ.
The Roman Emperor Constantine opened the biggest gate of hell to the worst evil when he made the church the state religion of Rome. From that point, men gained authority in the church through men rather than through Christ—the “only mediator between God and men” and the only Head of the church.
When people tried to make Jesus king, He fled to the mountains. If people make us king, then the people rule. Jesus could not be made king by the people because He was “born King.” Therefore, where we get our authority—from God or men—is a most basic factor determining whether we will stay on the path of life.
The church’s tendency to seek authority or approval from men is at the root of the greatest corruption of Christianity in history. Maybe this is why the Apostle Paul wrote in Galatians1:10, “If I were still seeking the approval of men I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” We cannot serve two masters. To the degree that we seek the approval of men we will forfeit being a bondservant of God, and only bondservants can understand the Revelation.
next week 45