The Revelation of Jesus Christ

No other book has brought such interest and awe like the book of Revelation. It has also brought much confusion as to its meaning. Scholars have debated its meaning for centuries. As we study the book of Revelation, there are a couple of things that we need to keep in mind: 1. It is inspired by God. Though the book is difficult to understand, we must submit to the fact that it is a God-inspired book and it must not be ignored. There are things in Revelation that God desires that we know and understand. We should take the study of Revelation just as seriously as we would any other book of the Bible. 2. There is much symbolism in Revelation. John uses symbolism in order to reveal God’s plan. The reason for the use of symbolism is up for debate. However, though symbolism is used, it does not mean that it is not true. The events described in Revelation will, in fact, happen because God said they would.

In the first three verses of Revelation, we are given an introduction into the book along with a blessing to those who read it. Notice what Revelation 1:1-3 says, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. [1]

The Revelation of Jesus Christ. The first thing we need to understand is that this is the revelation of Jesus Christ. The entire book focuses on Jesus. As a matter of fact, the whole Bible is all about Jesus. From Genesis through Revelation we see God’s plan of redemption running like a crimson thread through the pages of scripture. The book of Revelation is no different. The purpose of the book is so that we know more of Jesus. In Revelation 1-3 we see Jesus as the exalted Priest-King ministering to the churches. In Revelation 4-5 we see Jesus in heaven as the glorified Lamb of God, reigning on the throne. In Revelation 6-18 we see Jesus as the judge of all the earth. In Revelation 19 and beyond we see Jesus returning to earth as the conquering King of Kings. It’s all about Jesus. The purpose of a study of the book of Revelation is not to necessarily understand the future, but to know Jesus better.

The Revelation was given to Christ by God the Father. Though Jesus is God, He is also the mediator between God and man. This revelation is coming down from God the Father through Jesus Christ.

The Revelation was sent and signified by His angels. Notice the order here: God the Father gave the revelation to Jesus Christ and Jesus employed an angel to communicate the revelation to the churches. What exactly are angels? 1. They are God’s messengers. All throughout the Bible we see God using angels as messengers. This particular use of angels is not as likely today in our culture due to the access that we have to the Word of God. 2. They are ministering spirits to those who are saved. Notice what Hebrews 1:14 says, Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” [2] Every believer has at least one angel assigned to them in order to minister to them and protect them from things that they cannot see. I often wonder as to how much grief I have put my guardian angel through. I am sure it requires a lot of attention in order to look after me! 3. They are servants of Christ. All principalities and powers are subject to Jesus. All of God’s angels must answer to Jesus. This includes the angels that are used of God and those who have fallen; all are subject to the name of Jesus! It is no surprise that Jesus employed an angel to carry on the revelation that He received from God the Father.

The revelation was given to the apostle John by the angel. As the angels are the messengers of Christ, the ministers are the messengers of the church. John was the apostle chosen to give this revelation to the churches. Some believe that John was the last living apostle and he was receiving the final revelation from Jesus, thus, bringing the canon to a close. Matthew Henry states, “He was the servant of Christ; he was an apostle, an evangelist, and a prophet; he served Christ in all the three extraordinary offices of the church. James was an apostle, but not a prophet, nor an evangelist; Matthew was an apostle and evangelist, but not a prophet; Luke was an evangelist, but neither a prophet nor an apostle; but John was all three; and so Christ calls him in an eminent sense his servant John. 5”.[3] John was certainly qualified to be the one to carry out this message.

The revelation is given in order to bring blessing. Verse three tells us that all who reads and hears and obeys this book are considered blessed. Though the immediate reference here is the book of Revelation, I believe John had in mind not just the book of Revelation but the whole of scripture. 1. It is a blessed privilege to enjoy God’s Word. Just to be able to sit down and read the Word of God is a great blessing. The study of God’s Word should bring great joy to our hearts. The Psalmist said, blessed is He who “delights in the law of the Lord.” Do you delight in God’s Word? Is the reading and study of God’s Word an enjoyment to you? 2. It is a blessed privilege to study the scriptures. 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Be diligent (or study) to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” We need not only to read God’s Word, but we must also study it. We should meditate upon it. We should ponder it and think about it. We should practice good principles of interpretation and search out its meaning. 3. It is a blessed privilege to hear the Word of God preached. I don’t think we realize what an honor it is to hear the preaching of the Word of God. Preaching is the means through which the Word of God is proclaimed and taught. We should enjoy good preaching. Listen to good preaching throughout the week on the radio or online. Be a fan of your favorite preachers. Not putting them on a pedestal, but appreciating their teaching and instructions and unique styles. 4. It is a blessed privilege to obey the Word of God. James tells us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. It is one thing to read it, study it, and enjoy good preaching; but it will do us no good unless we obey it. Revelation 1:3 tells us that those who keep or obey the words of this book will be blessed. The more we understand and know the scriptures, the greater regard we will have for them. Our text closes with the admonishment to pay attention to God’s Word, for the time is at hand. The end is near. As we see the day approaching, we should be more and more attentive to God’s Word.

As we study the book of Revelation, may we have a renewed focus on the Word of God, as the end draws near.

[1] The New King James Version. (1982). (Re 1:1–3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[2] The New King James Version. (1982). (Heb 1:14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (Re 1:1–2). Peabody: Hendrickson.

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