"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John" (Revelation 1:1)
At the beginning of the Book of Revelation, we find, on the one hand, a situation of spiritual loss and failure, weakness, and many other conditions and features which even the Lord Himself, in all His grace, has to deplore. Through His servant John He sends a series of letters to seven representative churches, aimed at securing the renewing of the life of His people, and the restoring of those primary and primal values of their beginnings. Then, it was a situation of many difficulties - sufferings and trials and adversities from various quarters and of various kinds. The Christians at that time were both actually in a time of much adversity, and were moving yet more deeply into suffering. To one of these churches the Lord said that they were about to suffer; they were about to be cast into prison; they were going to have tribulation for a specified time (2:10). It was a time when Christians both actually needed real help and stimulus, and needed to be prepared for further battles, further conflicts and further sufferings. These were the two main aspects of the general situation.
In the light of those facts, we stand back and ask: How did the Lord, and how does the Lord, meet that need? Indeed, we might say: How does the Lord ever meet a great need? What is that which alone will supply the need, and be the key to the problem, the answer to the demand, and the assured ground, both of recovery and renewal, and of fortification for the suffering? And the answer has ever been, and always is: A new revelation - an unveiling - of the greatness of Jesus Christ. That is the very platform, we might say, upon which and from which the Lord moves into these situations, and into all the situations that follow in this book. He prefaces everything with this fresh revelation or unveiling of His own personal greatness.
That has ever been the way. Abraham was called upon to make tremendous decisions, to make immense sacrifices. In his native country and city, with its marvelous and rich civilization, he had a very full life indeed; and, without assurance that his movement would be justified, he was called upon to move under sealed orders. "Get thee out ... unto a land which I will show thee." "I will show ... when you get there!" It was a tremendous move, very costly, and very testing. But if you have wondered how it was that Abraham went through, met all the tests, and at last survived, you have, I think, the answer in these words: "The God of glory appeared unto our Father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia" (Acts 7:2). If ever that happens, you have got something to move on; you have got a background; you have something that will again and again come to your rescue in a time of difficulty.
Moses was called upon to undertake a tremendous responsibility. We know that whole story now. Moses was not altogether ignorant of what he had to face, in Egypt and afterward; and we may wonder sometimes how he kept to the course and got through. But we know that he met God "face to face"; it could be said equally that 'the God of glory appeared' to him. Reference is made several times in the Bible to that encounter with God in the bush. And we are told that "he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible" (Hebrews 11:27). That was the secret of his sustenance.
(continued with # 2)