Ciphered For Your Protection
Have you ever wondered why the Revelation of Jesus Christ is supposedly encrypted? Well there are (at least) three reasons as to why this divine message had been coded; the very first of which is that by so doing, it afforded security to the saints.
In the days the Revelation was first shared, the persecution of the church was at an all-time high. Caesar Nero in fact was responsible for the deaths of over three million Christians! Writing and sharing in code offered a degree of protection. It would be improbable that a protagonist, who having gotten hands upon an early manuscript, would understand the four-hundred (plus) allusions and illustrations relating to the Old Testament. Much of the writing would appear [to them] as nonsensical and capricious.
Secondly, the use of signs, pictures, and symbols has the competency of transcending time, culture, and generation. As language, custom, and expression continue to change, symbolism and signage endure. An example might be your own home town…The place has likely changed several times through the years, while the sign outside the city limits has not.
Thirdly, the ciphered-style stimulates our passion and zeal. Consider Revelation’s text and we discover that it is one thing to proclaim, ‘A world leader is coming, ’ and quite another to refer to this person as ‘The Beast.’ It is one thing to denounce the ‘worldly commercial system’ and quite another to say ‘Babylon…the mother of all harlots…the whore!’ Does not the ‘Bride of Christ’ sound much more intriguing than the ‘Christian’ designate; is not the ‘Lion of Judea’ a noble title for our Lord? These codes are both vivid and powerful for the believer.
Perhaps you have never wondered why this Revelation of Jesus was given to John, but suffice it to say, you should be acquainted with the reason as it will be helpful to you in your daily walk with Christ–God knew John. That is to say John’s record preceded him—he (previously) bore witness to the Word of God in his Gospel and in his three epistles, demonstrating that he had embraced Christ and shared all he had received. We see a similar occurrence in Genesis 18:17-19 when God opts to reveal his plan to Abraham regarding Sodom and Gomorrah…
And the Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”
Take Heed to What You Hear
That is the lesson for us. Why do we go to church; why do we read His Word? Are we merely seeking to become smarter sinners? Is our desire to gain biblical knowledge and insight selfish in nature, or is it our mission (like John) to share that which we have freely received. The truth of the matter is that consistent revelation comes to those who come with the attitude that they will give away what it is they have received. In so doing, swiftly the words of the Gospel Author make perfect sense.
Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. Luke 6:38