7 Reasons You Should Preach Through Revelation
Before you ask the question, yes, I was determined to make it seven reasons! The book of Revelation can be divided into seven natural sections, and the number seven appears no fewer than fifty-four times in the book. But, seriously, if you’ve never done it before, I hope that the seven reasons I give here encourage you to preach through the book of Revelation.
1. You should preach through Revelation because it’s just as much God’s Word as the rest of the Bible.
Okay, I know that’s obvious, but the fact is we don’t always treat Revelation as if we really believed it contains the Word of God. Jesus said, quoting Deuteronomy, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). And you know what? The last nine words of that quote include the book of Revelation!
2. You should preach through Revelation because it’s one of the most neglected and misunderstood books of the Bible.
There are two kinds of Bible-readers: (1) those who know they don’t understand Revelation and so avoid it like the plague; and (2) those who think they do understand it, but don’t, which may be even worse! Both kinds of readers need you to preach through Revelation.
3. You should preach through Revelation because your church is a reflection of the seven churches of Revelation.
Ah, yes, the famous seven churches. Revelation 2 and 3, right? Wrong! No, the whole book is a letter from the Lord to the seven churches. Wherever you are in Revelation, you need to ask the question, “What would this have meant to those seven churches?” And the seven churches are like a mirror, reflecting “the good, the bad, and the ugly” of all the churches we’re a part of.
4. You should preach through Revelation because there’s no book of the Bible more relevant to today’s world.
Most of us are probably not in any immediate danger of being imprisoned, tortured, or executed for refusing to call our particular Caesar “Lord.” Nonetheless, the twin dangers Revelation is so consumed with—persecution from the world and the seduction of the world—are just as real today, albeit in different guises.
5. You should preach through Revelation because Satan doesn’t want you to.
I’m sure that Revelation is Satan’s least favorite book of the Bible. Why? Well, for two good reasons: (1) it gives away all his nasty secrets, and (2) it tells us how his story ends. He’s thrown into the lake of fire after being utterly defeated by the Lamb. So Satan will do whatever he can to stop us reading, understanding, and preaching through the book of Revelation. Are you going to let him get away with it?
6, You should preach through Revelation because it’s full of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation opens with Christ. Its first vision is of him. The letters to the seven churches are his letters. From Revelation 5 onward, the main character of the book is the Lamb, a title that appears nearly thirty times in the book. And there are about two dozen other names and titles of Christ in the book! And what is Revelation really about? No, not the end of the world, but the Lamb’s victory over the dragon and his allies. Do you want to preach Christ? Great! Then preach through Revelation.
7. Finally, you should preach through Revelation because it will comfort and challenge your congregation.
Revelation addresses Christians who are facing two main dangers: (1) the danger of discouragement and fear in the face of persecution; and (2) the danger of caving under the pressure and betraying the Lord. So the Lord sent them a very strange letter, to comfort them in their trials and to encourage them to be faithful. Isn’t that what your people need too?
Let me close with two more practical encouragements. First, there are loads of really helpful commentaries on the book of Revelation: H. B. Swete (1906); William Hendriksen (1940); Michael Wilcock (1984); G. K. Beale (1999); Vern Poythress (2000); Derek Thomas (2003); Steve Wilmshurst (2008); and more.
Second, it needn’t take that long to preach through the book of Revelation. Both the apocalyptic genre and the progressive development of similar themes make it not only possible, but advisable, to preach through the book in fairly large chunks. With the Lord’s help, you can do it!