"So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?' He said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He said to him, 'Feed My lambs.' He said to him again a second time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?' He said to Him, 'Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.' He said to him, 'Tend My sheep.' He said to him the third time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?' Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, 'Do you love Me?' And he said to Him, 'Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed My sheep'" (John 21:15-17).
As we remember, Peter denied Jesus three times (Luke 22:54-62). Now, in John 21:15-17, Jesus gives Peter the chance to confess his love for Him three times. Jesus did not want Peter to feel the guilt of denying Him, rather He wanted Peter to forget and move on. It is the same way in our lives. By our sinful ways, all of us have in a way denied Jesus (Titus 1:16). Even after we have hurt Jesus by our sins, He doesn’t want us to bear the guilt once we have repented. Instead He wishes to give all of us the same chance He gave Peter: a chance to prove our love for Him. Notice that each time Peter said, “Lord you know that I love you” Jesus said “Feed my sheep.” In other words, confessing love in words was not enough. Peter had to show it in his life till the day that he died. The same is true for us! “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).
No doubt the book of Revelation is by far the most misunderstood and abused book of the Bible. Many want to jump into Revelation without understanding the kind of context, language and time the book is written in. Then there are others that see all the division concerning the book and avoid it completely. While it is important we do not misinterpret Revelation, the fear of doing so should not keep us from trying to learn as much as we can. And while Revelation is a difficult study that takes much time, the following are three quick tips to understanding the message of Revelation, all revealed in the book itself.
First, consider what John says in chapter 1:1, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.” The first point we must keep in mind is, “things which much shortly take place.” Written around AD 95-100, Revelation was an immediate message to Christians who needed hope around this time who were being persecuted by the Roman Empire. While there are end of time events about Judgment, Heaven/Hell in chapters 20-22, the book was not intended to be an epilogue about world events over two thousand years later (the rapture, the tribulation of seven years, the Antichrist, the millennial reign of Jesus in Jerusalem etc.) None of these are in Revelation, much less in the Bible.
Second, consider the second phrase in chapter 1:1, “He sent and signified it by His angel.” The book of Revelation is full of figurative language that describes real events and people. These “significations” or symbols are not to be taken literally but are simply to be interpreted in the correct context. For instance, “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.” (Revelation 1:20). The dragon in chapter 12 represents Satan. While Satan may not be a literal dragon, he is like one, therefore the figurative language gives an accurate figure of his character. The physical descriptions (street of gold, jewels, pearls) of the city (Heaven) in chapter 21 do not describe what will literally be in Heaven, but describe the incomprehensible beauties of Heaven in physical terms that we can relate to.
The third and final point to remember is that one cannot know for sure what every detail in Revelation means. One must not get so caught up in the details that he misses the overall message of the book: God wins and if we are with Him, we will too! “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). While Revelation was written to Christians in persecution in the first century, the overall message is one that we all need. May we never cease to study Revelation, but let us most of all never forget the power of God revealed therein.
1 John 4:1 says, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (KJV). Since the first gospel sermon to the present day many false teachers have gone out into the world, spreading error. We are told to teast the spirits or, in other words, test the very escence of what we hear being tought, no matter who it is teaching it.
One sure way to know the difference between truth and error when you are "testing the spirits" is to see if what is being said originated from man or God. Consider what Jesus asked the apostles in Matthew 16:13-17 and consider the response He got, "When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, 'Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?' And they said, 'Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.' He saith unto them, 'But whom say ye that I am?' And Simon Peter answered and said, 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered and said unto him, 'Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven'" (KJV). The line between truth and error is simply what man says vs. what God says. If God did not say it, do not believe it. Many decievers are out there my friends. Be careful and test the spirits! -Jonathan Glaesemann