When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said:“Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels[e] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. (Revelation 1:17-20 NIV)
The book of Revelation reveals two things: the present and the future.
The first, “what is now” is revealed in the letters that Jesus sends to the 7 churches of Asia minor in chapters 2 and three. These letter cut through the hypocrisy and outward posturing of the churches to reveal the genuine heart conditions of the worshipers. Therefore they reveal the condition of the church in John’s current day. We still have churches these days that fall into all seven categories. Therefore, we can still accept these letters as applying to “current” conditions in the church. We should use these letters as a guide to fixing and addressing problems in our churches today.
The second part, “what will take place later” is still of utmost importance to us because it hasn’t happened yet. The prophetic part of this chapter warn us about what “shortly take place” (Revelation 1:1). Therefore we need to prepare ourselves to be ready for it.