Seedbed is pleased to announce the release of an important Bible study resource, Revive: How the Seven Letters of Revelation Can Awaken Your Soul. Taking the seven short letters to the churches at the beginning of Revelation as a guide, Ed Love unpacks their messages of revival and explores what they might mean for our lives.
What is the book of Revelation about, and how do the letters to the seven churches fit into that message?
The book of Revelation is first and foremost a revelation and vision of Jesus Christ (see Rev. 1:1). The seven letters to the seven churches in the opening chapters are meant to be an encouragement and a challenge for the seven churches in the region of Asia Minor to stand firm in their commitment to Christ and not give in to the pressures of the culture around them.
Admittedly, the Letter of Revelation is a challenging book to interpret. How do you approach the book of Revelation and its meaning?
In Revive, I don’t dip into an exhaustive study on the entirety of Revelation, but the reader may get enough of a glimpse to see that my interpretation does not consider Revelation to be a book primarily about unpacking the end of time. I see the work through a historical lens, and interpret Revelation just like any other book of the Bible, while acknowledging its apocalyptic genre. First, I want to know, what did this book mean to the original hearer—within their original context? Then I want to apply those insights to the 21st century. I am very leery of eisegesis techniques (reading your own assumptions into the biblical text), and I do not want to read into the text or lay on top of the text alternative views, which have been made popular through the 20th and 21st centuries.
What sets your study apart from other books on the subject? Why did you choose to write about this now?
I believe Revelation is one of the most applicable books of the Bible and that the vision of Jesus Christ that John paints for us is particularly relevant for the church today. The 21st century may not be dealing with all of the same issues, such as a Roman Emperor claiming to be divine and expecting to be worshipped. However, the church in the 21st century is constantly being challenged by the culture at large to give in to the values of the fallen Babylon (or the values of the culture) instead of the values of the Kingdom of God. I wrote this book as an attempt to draw attention to Jesus’ rebuke and encouragement in the first century, which may have echoes that are relevant for today.
How do you define “revival”? What happens to a person when they become awakened, or revived?
Personal revival is an awakening of the soul, empowered by the Holy Spirit, which results in the continuous revelation of Jesus and the Kingdom of God in our everyday lives. Personal revival delivers us from sin, helps us recognize the persuasions of our godless culture, and calls us into a lifestyle of purity and faithfulness despite our circumstances.
The seven letters in Revelation have a lot to do with the perseverance of the saints. As a pastor, what has your experience been with people “coming and going” in the faith as you’ve led local communities?
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many church goers have chosen not to come back. This downward trend was already beginning to occur pre-pandemic, but the crisis without a doubt accelerated this movement away from church engagement. The message of the culture, “You can be good without God” has been widely accepted and many believers have lost sight of the original purpose of the church. As noted in Revive, in the first century, being a part of a local church community was a matter of surviving and thriving.
As a pastor, I have certainly seen my fair share of people coming and going, and falling away from the faith. However, I have also seen many people persevere and continue to grow in their faith through the years. Anecdotally, I can look back and note how the lives of those who have fallen away from the church have struggled, and the lives of those who remained connected to the church have become a beautiful story—a crown of life! (Rev. 2:10).
If readers who engage your book were to follow through on the call to action faithfully, what would be different in the life of God’s people? In the world?
If readers make the decision to remain connected to the Vine of life, then they will experience a deep joy that is not conditioned by their environment or circumstances. The world is looking for someone, anyone, who will persevere and not buckle under cultural pressure. Through these faithful lives, the work of the church, the Holy City, will continue to beckon lost souls, heal the land, and draw people into a relationship with God.
- Sunday school classes
- Small groups
- Individuals doing deeper Bible study
In these pages you’ll:
- Be encouraged to persevere in your faith, no matter the cultural or political conditions
- Learn the ancient historical-social context behind the message of the book of Revelation
- Discover the timeless relevance of this often misunderstood book of the Bible
About the Book
The world is desperate and wondering if those who claim to follow Christ are able to stand the test of time. Is there anybody willing to weather the storms of life and still honor God? Is there anybody who won’t bow down to the idols of our modern culture and stand strong in the face of opposition and persecution? Is there anybody that will allow Jesus to be their guiding authority in life?
Taking the seven short letters to the churches at the beginning of Revelation as a guide, Dr. Ed Love unpacks their messages of revival and explores what they might mean for our lives. This book is for anyone who desires the vibrant passion they once had for Jesus, the Scriptures, and the mission of the church. If you are ready to be reawakened with real faith and hear the words of Jesus directed to these ancient communities of faith, Revive is the study for you.