Friday, June 1, 2012

Book Review: Jesus is Victor

Jesus Is Victor: A Fresh Perspective on the Book of Revelation. A.W. Tozer. Compiled and Edited by Gerald B. Smith. 1989/2007. WingSpread Publishers. 143 pages.

You probably won't be too surprised to hear that I just LOVED A.W. Tozer's Jesus Is Victor. This themed collection of his sermons on the book of Revelation was a great find! It had me hooked from the beginning:

The Revelation is a great book because it is the revelation of Jesus Christ! It is not, as some suppose, a book just for theologians, scholars and historians. Although the book presents a complex message, it was written for ordinary people like us.
We have choices as to what we will do with the Revelation. I warn you that it is entirely possible to turn the Revelation into a source of blight to your soul. On the other hand, it is possible to find in this Revelation a great source of light and blessing.
As far as I'm concerned, we are dealing in the Revelation with the Word of God. To try to plumb divine mysteries and to learn divine truth without sorrow in our hearts and tears in our eyes is vanity and futility 10 times multiplied.
Revelation raises questions that none of us can answer. There are many details in God's plan for the end of this age that we do not know. Admittedly, some preachers seem able to preach wonderful sermons about things they do not know, but I refuse to be placed in that category.
Here is the method that I must follow as we proceed in our study:
  • I will not attempt to interpret or explain all of the symbols and figures of speech as they appear.
  • I will not arbitrarily force every passage to fit some prophetic pattern or idea. (If you want to take that route--which, I repeat, I will not take--I warn you that you may do it at the terrible expense of spiritual dishonesty! Or, short of that, you will narrow down your mind  to a point where you can never expand or grow--where the Lord can find nothing further to say to you.)
  • I will freely admit that there are symbols, personalities, and figures that I cannot understand or explain.
  • Positively, I will identify the main points to discover the underlying spiritual lessons.
  • I will emphasize the central truth that dominates the Revelation: the truth that when God in heaven gets enough of this world's sin and rejection, violence and rebellion, He will wait no longer. He will do something about it!
We need not decipher and decode mysterious symbols to determine the outcome of this conflict of the ages. There is a plain and radiant theme from the beginning to the end of the Revelation: Jesus is Victor! That theme will be our theme in these meditations. 
At last a book about Revelation whose goal is not to "enlighten" to the point of frustration and confusion. A book about the book of Revelation that places the focus where it should be: the Lord Jesus Christ.

The chapter titles:

  • The theme in Revelation: "Jesus Is Victor!"
  • The Prophecy in Revelation: "I Am Coming Soon!"
  • The Appeal in Revelation: "Repent, and Be Faithful!"
  • The Portrait in Revelation: "The Eternal Christ!"
  • The Call to Worship in Revelation: "Holy, Holy, Holy!"
  • The Title Deed in Revelation: "Worthy is the Lamb!"
  • The Beginning of Judgment in Revelation: "The Four Horsemen!"
  • The Overcomers in Revelation: "Out of the Great Tribulation!"
  • The Supernatural Acts in Revelation: "Blow Your Trumpets!"
  • The Human Resolution in Revelation: "We Will Not Repent!"
  • The Command in Revelation: "No More Delay!"
  • The Invitation in Revelation: "Eat and Digest God's Word!"

To those familiar with A.W. Tozer, to those who know his writing style, to those who have found treasure in his works, I won't need to work too hard to persuade you to seek this one out. Tozer is brilliant, and he's just so readable! He's very straight-forward, very reader-friendly, yet, not reader-friendly in the sense that he tells you what you want to hear and only what you want to hear. No, he's all about the Word of God, and sometimes he tells you what you NEED to hear for your own good. His passion for the Lord is shown in every message, his love of the Word evident in every book.

Jesus is Victor focuses on the first ten chapters of Revelation. I believe that there might have been a second book that finishes his teachings on the book, but, from what I've found it is long out of print. I think it's called The Coming King.

Favorite quotes:

We can never get too weak for the Lord to use us--but we can get too strong, if it is our own strength. We can never be too ignorant for the Lord to use us--but we can be too wise in our own conceit. We can never get too small for the Lord to use us, but we can surely get too big and get in His way. (63)

The question is this: What are we allowing the Word of God to say to us, and what is our reaction to that Word? Have we consumed and digested the book? Have we absorbed the Word of God into our lives? Or are we among those content to be a part of a Christian congregation where there are no extreme demands, where fellowship will be consistently pleasant and without responsibility? When we, as Christians, love our Lord Jesus Christ with heart and soul and mind, the Word of God is on our side! If we could only grasp the fact that God's Word is more than a book! It is the revelation of divine truth from the person of God Himself. It has come as a divine communication in the sacred Scriptures. It has come to us in the guidance and conviction imparted by the divine Spirit of God within our beings. It has been modeled for us in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word and the eternal Son. (165)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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