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The sovereignty of God can be seen all over the Bible. In this post, I want to focus on the book of Revelation. Indeed, the sovereignty of God is one of the main theological themes of the Scriptures and Revelation. [Genesis and Revelation are my favorite books in the Bible]
The book of Revelation
I believe no other book of the Bible captivated the believer’s attention and imagination as the book of Revelation. Especially in the times we live right now. Theologians have dozens of interpretations for this precious book, with charts and tables explaining all the hidden meanings of the book. Rarely can you find two theologians who can agree 100% to what every verse of Revelation means. Honestly, I don’t believe there is one person in the world who can claim full and complete understanding of Revelation. I believe we need each other to understand it better.
A message for the Church
Apostle John wrote Revelation while on the Island of Patmos. John was not on Patmos for the view or for the sun. He tells us in Revelation 1:9 (TLV) the reason why he was there:
I, John, your brother and fellow partaker with you in the tribulation and kingdom and patient endurance that are in Yeshua, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Yeshua.
From this verse we can understand that John was on Patmos because of persecution—not for the view. He writes Revelation to the seven Churches in Asia Minor (1:10-11) in a time when believers faced persecutions themselves.
John did not write for the Baptist Churches, or the Pentecostal Churches, or any other denomination—the message was for the Churches and for the Church. The same message is just as valid and fresh for the Church in our times.
The sovereignty of God in Revelation
The prominent depiction of God as the Creator of the Universe, and His sovereignty, is a central and essential theme in the book of Revelation. Indeed, it’s not the only theological theme but the sovereignty of God is one of the central themes. The Holy Spirit reveals God as enthroned in heaven and who reigns over all people, angels, demonic powers, events and cosmos.
First, one can see God’s sovereignty depicted in the designations of divine names, titles and attributions of God. Second, one can see God’s sovereignty in the description of the throne room of God and His throne. And third, one can see God’s sovereignty in His actions and judgements.
I believe one of the purposes of the emphasis on the sovereignty of God in Revelation (and prophetic writings) is to remind the believers that God is in control of all their circumstances.
This should build up the faith of any believer and make all of us confidently trust our God.
God is sovereign in His titles
In Revelation 1:8 (TLV) we read
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says Adonai Elohim, “Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty!”
“Alpha and Omega” stem
s from the first letter (alpha) and the last letter (omega) of the Greek alphabet. As many Bible scholars point out, it is equivalent to “I am the A to Z” in English. This title indicates that God is the origin and goal of history because He precedes all creation. God is the beginning and the end of Revelation and He wants all Churches to know that everything written here is about Him, and with Him in the centre. Moreover, He is in every verse of the book.
God has a message for the Church: nothing can take Him by surprise. Even when the Church faces hardships and persecutions, God wants His children to take comfort in His sovereignty. In Isaiah 44:6 we read the same thing
Thus says Adonai, Israel’s King and his Redeemer, Adonai-Tzva’ot: “I am the first, and the last, and there is no God beside Me.
We can see God’s sovereignty also in the title
Who is and who was and who is to come
As Dr. Kostenberger said in The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown
God is now; He has always been; and He will come in the future when He dramatically brings about the consummation of the ages.
The Almighty God
The title Almighty is pointing to the sovereignty of God. In the Hebrew language the word Almighty is El Shaddai, but it is translated as Almighty or Self-sufficient. In biblical Greek it has the meaning of omnipotence or ruler over all things.
The Church needed to know that the God who is Self-sufficient in Himself and who rules all seen and unseen things in the Universe and who can do all things, is for her. God is for His church and the beast, the false prophet, the antichrist and all the kingdom of darkness submit to Him and cannot touch Yeshua’s bride!
God communicates to the Church what will happen to her—but He also tells the Church that she can trust Him totally.
God’s sovereignty in depiction of the throne room
In chapter four, the scene is changed from the rocky isle of Patmos into the heavenly throne room. John received an invitation from Yeshua to come up and see what’s going on in heaven. Next, John describes a God who is glorious, majestic, surrounded by His courtiers and who sits on His throne.
The Church needed to have a heavenly perspective of the earthly events. Only God and heaven can give us the right perspective and understanding. The Church needed to know that God is sovereign, and He remains sovereign as all the events of Revelation unfold.
As we read the last chapters of Revelation, we see that God remained on His throne, until the end of times. Revelation 20:11-12 (TLV) says
Then I saw a great white throne, and the One seated on it. The earth and heaven fled from His presence, but no place was found for them. And I saw the dead—the great and the small—standing before the throne. The books were opened, and another book was opened—the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what was written in the books, according to their deeds.
And friend, all roads lead to judgement—not to Rome.
The sovereignty of God in His judgements
God’s sovereignty over creation, history, and events can be seen through His decrees and acts of judgement. God as the Creator is the One who directs the course and timing of all events from His throne in heaven.
God is presented as the One who judges humanity and His judgement is wise, severe, just and quick. Nevertheless, humanity—most of it—still does not want to repent, even after seeing all the calamities that came upon them, as we read in Revelation 9:20-21 (TLV)
But the rest of mankind, those not killed by these plagues, did not repent and turn away from the works of their hands—they would not stop worshiping demons and the idols of gold and silver and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk. And they did not repent and turn away from their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their stealing.
I believe we live in Matthew 24:8 (TLV)
But all these things are only the beginning of birth pains.
We live in times when we see many false prophets rising, believers being persecuted, many fall from their faith and nations rise up against other nations. And things like COVID-19. But this is only the beginning of the birth pains.
The purpose of Revelation’s depiction of the sovereignty of God is to encourage the Church to endure to the end and to encourage believers in their faith in the midst of suffering.
My exhortation for you is this—get to know God. The better you know Him, the better you can trust Him. Ask God to search your heart, and make the changes He tells you, because you want to be ready for the second coming of Yeshua/Jesus.
The promise of Yeshua is the same for us today (Revelation 2:11, ESV):
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.
Do you agree?
May the Lord grant all of us ears to hear what the Holy Spirit speaks and then obey.
If you are not a born-again believer—do not delay the day of your salvation. You cannot enter the Kingdom of God without being born again. There is no other way.
Therefore, trust in God and trust in the sovereignty of God.
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