Sadly, when many Christians fail to fathom the symbolism frequently found in the final book of the Bible, they give up in understanding this book and then they totally disregard whatever it clearly conveys. This Advent season, consider some of the powerful and clear Advent messages in the book of Revelation. Some such messages may be nestled in a pocket of symbolism, but the messages themselves are clear as crystal.
Of Christ’s first coming, consider the Christmas story in Revelation 12:5: “And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron.” The “she” in this section has been understood to be the church (Old and New Testament) who is “the mother of us all” (Gal. 4:26; Rev. 21:2ff). How appropriate that the Virgin Mary should be seen as the representative of Christ’s Spirit-filled, Christ-issuing Church.
Of Christ’s coming with the purpose of saving us by His blood, the Revelation gets right to the point in the first chapter: “To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood, and made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:5b,6). Yes, the Son of God came to die, to shed His blood for us, that we may be His priests.
The Savior then comes to us and cleanses us in our Baptism: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:14). Luther wrote: “What makes baptism so precious, so holy and essential is the mingling and the union of the water with the blood of Christ.” (from a sermon on 1 John 5) Indeed Christ has come to you and cleansed you and your “robe” with His holy precious blood!
An angel communicated to John in Revelation 20:9 the meal-related coming of Jesus: “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Indeed we join in that marriage meal now, and it is of the Lamb, a partaking of the Lamb’s very body and blood. We will then gather around the festive marriage board into eternity, for the Lamb has come, is coming and will come that we may feast with Him.
As a final Advent thought, The Revelation to Saint John begins and concludes with a consideration of the final coming of Christ. Revelation 1:7 quotes Daniel’s prophetic vision, “Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him…” And the Revelation literally concludes with the Advent affirmations of Jesus and His people: “’Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.”