Want To Know More About Jesus? Read Revelation!
The Son and His Servants
Revelation 1:1-3 The Gift and the Blessing
The Gift - Verses 1-2 "A revelation" (apokalupsis - to unveil, which includes both the object and the interpretation of same); notice NO definite article. This is not a singular revelation but the culmination of hundreds of revelations throughout all of Scripture. History is replete with sects and heretics clamoring to have the latest greatest revelations of our Lord and the future; none of which stand the tests of Scripture. .."of Jesus Christ"; a NAME that stands alone and needs no explanation to those who CAN "read" and "hear" the words of this book. .."which God gave unto Him to show unto His (the Son's)" servants (us); this is a GIFT from the Father to the Son to be passed on to His Bride the Church, the redeemed Israel and to the martyrs of the 70th week of Daniel. We who are alive in Christ, have received a seemingly mysterious but most majestic gift that requires our diligence in seeking to understand. The present times are discernible but it is the future that should drive us towards personal godliness in our lives today (Rev chapters 2 & 3). We do not serve a carpenter's son nor a man still hanging upon a cross, but God Almighty whose glory and power we cannot now or will ever fully comprehend. He is infinite; we are not. Also in the Old Testament (OT), when it came to exercising the death penalty, two or more witnesses were required. Likewise, Revelation concerns the death penalty for the wicked; the Word (logos) of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ and all that was revealed to His servant (doulos - one whose will is sold out permanently to another) John being the witnesses for the prosecution.
Take note: this revelation witnessed by John was signified (2 words in Greek seimaino - a mark + apostello - set apart), not by an angel but by His angel. "..God is not the author of confusion"; the angels of heaven are perfectly ordered by rank and file, each having their assigned stations and duties which they fulfill to the glory of God. The nature of man is to establish order from the top down as are the legends of Satan. Neither we or the devil have created anything new; we copy the heavenly for we have been made in the image of God. Whoever the angel is; in our Lord's eyes, lends His stamp of approval upon the testimony of John which follows. Our enemy the devil has used this ruse of a "verifying" angel more than once to deceive man into accepting a "another Gospel". Galatians 1:7-8 "Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." By the time we reach the end of Revelation we will have learned more in this one book of the Bible about angels and their calling.
Why John? The timing was perfect; the Church was established and he was the last witness that could testify to it all. A son of thunder, now the apostle of love; John was the last of his breed; many believed he would not die (John 21:23). He had witnessed the incredible growth of the Church, had seen the power of God displayed in ways you and I could never imagine and was now called upon to place the capstone of ALL Scripture into our hands.
The Blessing - Verse 3 To receive a blessing, three requirements are given. In Greek all are present participle verbs (action), which means "this is what you constantly practice; this is who you are".
- Read; simple enough in itself but not complete; even a non-believer can read it.
- Hear (akouo - to hear with the ear of the mind); this is a more difficult for the believer; impossible for the lost soul.
- The caveat - and KEEP the words (logos) of this prophecy; the most difficult challenge for any believer.
My conclusion: Revelation is not to be trivialized, sensationalized or exploited for personal reasons whether as an individual, a group or a body of "believers". I have taken this study of Revelation very very seriously and it has required a diligent study of the whole of Scripture. Any other approach at this time in my life to this wonderful book would be questionable at best in my own mind.
The basis and authority for Revelation has been laid; let us continue to build on it.