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The Revelation of Jesus Christ - Rev 1:1-2
Who is "he"? How translations affect interpretation
The majority of Bible teachers interpret the opening verses of Revelation as God the Father giving the revelation to the Son, Jesus Christ, who in turn gives the revelation to John, who in turn is to give the revelation to the seven churches. I believe this to be an interpretation of error, and will show it was Jesus, who IS the revelation of God, that gave the revelation to John to give to the seven churches.
Let’s look at three translations of Revelation 1:1-2 and see the variations:
The KJV does not use capitalization (with exception of the Title), leaving room for accurate interpretation.
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.”
However, the NAS uses capitalization, influencing the reader to interpret according to the translators’ view:
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.”
The NIV isn’t much help, and begins the verse with “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw--that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
How do we know who “God gave him” is referring to? Jesus or John? Who does “his bondservants” refer to? God’s or Jesus’? “he sent and communicated it by his angel” – whose angel? God’s or Jesus’? We can reasonably deduct that it was John who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, for Jesus would not testify to the Word of God or to the testimony of Jesus Christ. Due to the lack of capitalization of the last word “he” in all versions, we know it was John who testified to “all that he saw.”
If we apply God as the subject (the One giving the revelation and sending His angel), the verse would be understood this way:
- “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Jesus to show to God’s bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and God sent and communicated it by God’s angel to God’s bond-servant John, [John] who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that John saw.”
If we apply Jesus as the One who received the revelation, sent His own angel for His own bond-servants, the verse would be understood this way:
- “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Jesus to show to Jesus’ bond-servants, the things which must soon take place, and Jesus sent and communicated it by His own angel to His own bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that John saw.”
Neither of the above interpretations is correct. Here’s why:
Debaters will say that it is Jesus who received the revelation from God because John wrote the Book and is therefore, writing in first person. If John were writing in first person, the passage would read this way:
- “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Jesus, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it by His angel unto me: I testify to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that I saw.” Rather, it states “unto His servant, John” and “even to all that he saw”, which we’ve solidified is speaking of what John saw. These opening verses of Revelation are written in THIRD PERSON.
To further confirm this truth, the NIV on biblos.com shows Rev 1:1-3 as a PROLOGUE to the Book of Revelation. Prologue is defined as “a separate introductory section of a literary or musical work.”
Compare the prologue to how John writes in vs. 9: "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."
Who is "His angel"?
Who is “His angel” in Rev 1:1? Is it the angel of God (YHWH), also known as the angel of the LORD? Or is it the angel of Jesus Christ?
Rev 22:16 declares, “I Jesus have sent my angel to testify unto you these things in the churches.” So, is Jesus the angel of God who gave Jesus’ angel the revelation Jesus received from God to John? Does that sound Biblically sound to you?
Do we ever see any other passages in the Bible where Jesus, as a separate person from God, sends His own, separate angel to testify to anyone? No. Do we see multiple passages in the Bible where God sends His angel to testify? How many times do we see the use "the angel of the LORD” or “My angel” or “His angel”?
- Gen 16:7 “Now the angel of the LORD found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to Shur.” In vs. 16 we read, “Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, ‘You are the God [El] who sees’; for she said, 'Have I even remained alive here after seeing Him?"
- Gen 22:11-12 "But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’”
- Gen 24:40 "He [Abraham] said to me, 'The LORD, before whom I have walked, will send His angel with you to make your journey successful, and you will take a wife for my son [Isaac] from my relatives and from my father's house;”
- Ex 3:2 “The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.” Verse 5 identifies this angel: “I AM the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’”
- Ex 22:23; 32:34 “For My angel will go before you…”
- In Num 22:22 the angel of the LORD stood as an adversary against Balaam, opened his eyes (31) and told him (35) “you shall speak only the word which I tell you”. In vs. 38 Balaam said, “The word that God puts in my mouth, that I shall speak.”
- Jud 6:22-24 “When Gideon saw that He was the angel of the LORD, he said, ‘Alas, O LORD God! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face.’ The LORD said to him, ‘Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die.’
- Dan 6:22 “My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths…”
The angel of YHWH is proven to be YHWH Himself. For Jesus to send His own angel to testify to John points directly to the fact that He is YHWH Himself. He is the Revelator sending His angel to give the visions and interpretations to John, who in turn was to send the letters to the seven churches in Asia.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ!
To theologically teach that Jesus was given a revelation “of/from Jesus Christ” by God holds to God being the original Revelator and not Jesus. Contrarily, the passage clearly states the Book IS The Revelation of or from Jesus Christ! They contend that Jesus is speaking as the Son of Man and Mediator (which He does many times in His letters to the churches), yet in Rev 2:8 reveals Himself (“the revelation of Jesus Christ”) to be the First and the Last who died and came to life again, the revelation of Isaiah 44:6:
- "This is what the LORD says-- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”
The LORD Almighty is YHWH Sabaoth, while God Almighty is El Shaddai. BOTH refer to The Almighty, and there IS only ONE. (Rev 11:17; Gen 17:1)
Truly, Jesus IS the Shepherd of Ps 23:1 and John 10:11 who became the Lamb of God (John 1:29) to shed His own blood for our salvation. Hos 13:4, Isa 43:11 and 45:21 all declare YHWH as saying, “There is no Savior besides Me.”
Acts 20:28 confirms: “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He [God] purchased with His [God’s] own blood.”
The Revelation of Jesus Christ is that HE IS THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY.
To match the whole of Bible Truth to Rev 1:1-2 it is to be interpreted and understood this way:
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God [who is Jesus Christ] gave unto John to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He [Jesus] sent and signified it by His angel [yes, the angel of the LORD] unto His servant John: Who bare record of the Word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ [Who is the Word of God], and of all things that he [John] saw.”
It is not Jesus who is given the revelation of visions all throughout the Book; it is JOHN. This is a perfect example of how the use of capitalization in translations influences the traditional teachings of men, which are both a hindrance to the teaching by the Holy Spirit, who guides us into all Truth.
- Luke 24:45 “Then opened he [Jesus] their [the disciples] understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”
To God be the glory. Amen.