Article 2. Prophetic Perspective: Revelation 1:1-8

You are traveling west on I-70, headed for the Rocky Mountains for the very first time.

They finally come into view, looking like a purplish column of peaks stretching across the horizon, and you are excited thinking that you are almost there. To your surprise, after another hour or so at 70 miles an hour, you finally find yourself entering the low foothills. You can no longer see the high peaks, only the ridge in front of you.

Remembering the view from the plains of Colorado it would seem that once you top the ridge, surely you will be close to the high peaks which appeared to be just a higher point of one basic range. Ten or fifteen miles after Denver you finally reach the top of the first ridge and prepare the descent down into Idaho Springs–only to discover that you still lack some 40 miles before reaching Loveland Pass where you will finally cross over the Continental Divide separating the Eastern slopes of the Rockies from the Western slopes

This illustrates the principle of "prophetic perspective."

The prophets were looking from a far distance away in time towards future times and events, and they could only see the peaks of the events being revealed unto them. God's revelations were true and accurate, but the prophets' perspective caused times and events sometimes to appear to overlap when in reality there were sometimes many years in between–for example there has already been 2000 years between the first coming of Christ as the suffering servant portrayed in Isaiah 53:11 (who would give His life in crucifixion for the sins of the world) and the second coming when Christ will be the King of Jeremiah 23:5 and 6 (who is to reign wisely and restore Judah into the place of world power and security). Because of their inability to see these two passages as referring to the same individual separated by thousands of years, Israel on the whole has refused to recognize Jesus as the anointed one from God–the savior of the whole world. As we begin this series of articles based on the message of the Book Revelation in the Holy Bible, we must remember this prophetic perspective, and we must be careful not to box God into our understanding of the shadowy events of revelation given to the apostle John by the angel (or messenger) of Jesus Christ concerning what was, and still is, to come.

We must focus upon the central message of prophecy declared by the angel of the Lord in Revelation 19:10 when John fell at the angel's feet to worship him, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (NIV)." Most of Biblical prophecy did not even deal with future events, but was a "forth" telling of God's message to the people to whom it was delivered; and even the passages and books, such as Revelation, which dealt primarily with the "fore" telling of future events were not intended for the purpose of letting people know the future, providing a sense of pride and superiority over those who don't have the same understanding as we do, or even to scare sinners into Heaven. Prophecy is intended first of all to point people to their need of accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is intended to encourage the self examination of one's life in view of the certainty of God's promises coming to pass, and to emphasize the necessity of fulfilling the great commission that Christ left with the church as recorded by the apostle in Mark 16:15, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. (NIV)"

Jesus words recorded in John 14:1-3 state, "Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (NIV)" John states in Revelation 1:7, "Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. (NIV)" Are you ready to meet the returning Lord? Don't put it off! Jesus Is Coming Again to receive all that love Him, have submitted their lives to Him, and are looking for His appearing. I trust that as you view the prophetic glimpses of the future in "To Infinity and Beyond" in the upcoming months that you will find yourself falling in love with Jesus in a way as never before, for Jesus (and Jesus only) is worthy of your devotion, praise, and worship.

Exie Barber was brought up in an Assemblies of God pastor's home. He was ordained by the Kansas District Council of the Assemblies of God in 1978. Currently, he serves as senior pastor at the Assembly of God in Ellsworth, Kansas and writes for the adult Radiant Life curriculum. Recently, he became an adjunct faculty member for Global University. He earned his B. A. in Christian Education from Southwestern Assemblies of God College in 1987 and his M.A. in Christian Education from the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.