1 This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things which must happen soon, which he sent and made known by his angel to his servant, John, 2 who testified to God’s word, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, about everything that he saw.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ – the Book of Revelation is not the Revelation of the Apostle John. It is Christ’s revelation, which He received from God. It reveals the future of God’s Kingdom, its corruption and purification, that climaxes on the LORD’s Day.
Before the 3rd Century, there was no doubt about the writer of this book: it was written by John. But in the 4th Century, we find that half claimed that it was not authentic, and wanted it removed from the Bible. Eusebius in his Church History of 324, wrote: “opinions are evenly divided” [Book 3.24-.25]. The Church had already progressed on the path that Jesus prophesied, and could not accept the message that was found in the Book of Revelation.
To His servants – this Book was written to provide inspiration to God’s servants throughout the ages. To all those who love the truth and aspire to see God’s kingdom established in righteousness. The Greek word doúlos, is actually slave, and frequently translated as “bond-servant.” It applies to all those who have been purchased by God, “by the blood of His own (Son),” (Acts 20:28).
By His Angel – the Angel who guided John is called “God’s Angel” three times, see also Rev 22:6; 16. This is the Angel of YHVH, “the Bright Morning Star” who appears in three different forms to lead John through the Revelation story.
As we go through the Revelation story, the Angel’s identity is always revealed as the Spirit of Christ. The Angel’s guidance actually gives us an outline of the Book.
|Revelation 1-3 |
John meets the Angel, the Spirit of Christ, in the LORD’s Day, who gives him instructions to the Seven Churches.
|“What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”|
The same Angel beckoned John up to the New Heaven, where the Lamb opens the scroll to show him the future calamities to face mankind in Seven Seals and Seven trumpets.
|“And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, ‘Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”|
|Revelation 10 – 16|
The Angel of YHVH begins a series of prophecies that explain the 42 months and take us from the death of Christ to the end of the world.
|“And they said to me, ‘You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.’”|
|Revelation 17 – 20|
The Angel introduces the judgment of Babylon
• By the Kings (17-18)
• By the Rider of the White Horse (19)
• By the Martyrs on thrones, Daniel 7:9,26 (20)
|“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot…’”|
The Angel of YHVH shows John the New Jerusalem
|“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.’”|
3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is at hand.
Blessed is he who reads – the one who reads and understands this Book is very blessed. Most of the prophecies in this Book have been fulfilled in astounding detail as we shall see. This is the first of seven blessings mentioned in Revelation. The rest are: “blessed is he who dies in the Lord from now on,” Rev 14:13; “blessed is he who stays awake” (and ready for the Lord’s return), Rev 16:15; “blessed are those invited to the marriage supper of the lamb,” Rev 19:9; “blessed and holy is he who has a part in the first resurrection (of the martyrs), Rev 20:6; “blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book,” Rev 22:7; and “blessed are those who wash their robes,” Rev 22:14.
And heeds the things which are written in it – Chapters two and three are directed towards the believers in John’s day and contain many warnings for them. The same warnings are useful for us. The remainder of Revelation is relevant to our current day, especially the warning not to worship the beast, and his image or receive his mark.
4 John, to the seven assemblies that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne;
To the seven Churches – the primary audience is the seven churches of Asia, but these seven churches are representative of the churches of God throughout the ages. In fact, the rewards for faithfulness promised to these seven churches are the rewards of the end time church in Revelation 19.
Who is and who was and who is to come – this expression makes fun of the translation of Exodus 3:14 in the Greek Septuagint, which translated “I WILL BE” as “I am He WHO IS.”
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood; 6 and he made us to be a Kingdom, priests to his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The faithful witness – the fulfillment of the prophecies in this Book prove that Jesus Christ is the Faithful Witness. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The firstborn from the dead – the first spiritual being of the kingdom of heaven, Acts 13:33-44; Col 1:18; and 1Cor 15:20. Christ became the “male child” in Revelation 12:5 when resurrected. This fulfilled Psalms 2:7-9, as explained in Acts 13:33-34. The expression “firstborn from the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth” comes from Psalms 89:27 : “I will make him my firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.”
The ruler of the kings of the earth – Christ became the ruler of the kings of the earth when the beast was overthrown, see Rev 17:13-14.
He has made us a kingdom – some manuscripts read “He has made us kings” but the earliest manuscripts favour “He has made us a kingdom.”