Isaiah 31 & Revelation 1

Isaiah 31

    Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
        and rely on horses,
    who trust in chariots because they are many
        and in horsemen because they are very strong,
    but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
        or consult the LORD!
    And yet he is wise and brings disaster;
        he does not call back his words,
    but will arise against the house of the evildoers
        and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
    The Egyptians are man, and not God,
        and their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
    When the LORD stretches out his hand,
        the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall,
        and they will all perish together.
    For thus the LORD said to me,
    “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey,
        and when a band of shepherds is called out against him
    he is not terrified by their shouting
        or daunted at their noise,
    so the LORD of hosts will come down
        to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.
    Like birds hovering, so the LORD of hosts
        will protect Jerusalem;
    he will protect and deliver it;
        he will spare and rescue it.”
        Turn to him from whom people have deeply revolted, O children of Israel. For in that day everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.

    “And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man;
        and a sword, not of man, shall devour him;
    and he shall flee from the sword,
        and his young men shall be put to forced labor.
    His rock shall pass away in terror,
        and his officers desert the standard in panic,”
    declares the LORD, whose fire is in Zion,
        and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

(Isaiah 31 ESV)

Revelation 1

    The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

    John to the seven churches that are in Asia:

    Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.

    To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

    “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

    I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

    Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

    When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

(Revelation 1 ESV)

Revelation 1: The Book of Revelation is often viewed as a book primarily about the future. However, the book was originally written for a first century audience and was written with some specific instructions for those original readers. John writes, "blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in this book." Now, how are we to keep what is written in this book?

The Book of Revelation reveals (hence the name) the unseen cosmic conflict taking place between God and His Christ on the one hand and Satan and his allies on the other. Although Christ has already accomplished the decisive victory through His work on the cross, His church is still being assaulted by these forces of evil and must persevere in the face of this tribulation until that Day our Lord returns to deliver the eternal death blow to these powers of darkness. Therefore, may we be encouraged that the victory has been won, but may we continue to endure in purity and faithfulness until that Day our Victor returns.