“Searching the Seven Churches”
The Book of Revelation – (Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 1)
We come now to the text of Revelation itself. John, the apostle is the author, under, of course, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2Timothy 3:16). He is in exile on the island of Patmos. These prophetic visions were given to him by 95AD is believed. The visions were given and the writing of them are simultaneous (v19). John is ordered to write in a book the things that he is shown (v11). Which is completed and sealed, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19). In fact, in the highest sense, it is Christ’s book (v1). We interpret the book by its contents, along with, of course, the rest of Scripture. God is the revealer, and Christ is God revealed. God’s revelation always comes, is always mediated to us through Jesus Christ. It is Christ as God who speaks to us in all Scripture. And there is no higher authority than Christ, he is Lord, of all. Thus, the book of Revelation reveals Christ to us, who controls, governs everything that falls out in his creation (Matthew 28:18). The theme is how that he comes and is coming through the age we call the millennium, the new testament age that is, from the ascension of Christ to his return in glory. It is history views from above.
The first three verses are a summary of the entire book, its origin, its subject matter, its nature and its purpose. It gives believers a heavenly perspective of redemptive history and reveals the one who is the Lord of history. In the death of Jesus Christ was the victory over Satan, his servants, or followers (v1), are to repeat that victory, by enduring suffering through their many tribulations. They are called to be more than conquerors. They are shown the heavenly realm, with the Lamb upon his throne being central. The goal of the new creation is set before them, with the sovereign Christ both redeeming and judging. The intention is to motivate them to worship God in obedience to his word. The meaning of the name of the book. It has been referred to as John’s apocalypse, this English word expresses the dramatic, destructive. The Greek rendering is both simple and plainer, meaning revelation. It is akin to a statue which all covered over ready at the appointed time to be unveiled for all to see. Here in the book of Revelation the hidden counsel of God is unveiled, made known. It cannot be known unless God reveals it, it needs to know, but is only spiritually discerned. Just as all the rest of Scripture (John 5:39). It answers the question for us as to what Christ has been doing and is doing, from the time of his exaltation to the end of the age. As we shall see, he is very busy. John, remember, knows Jesus Christ intimately, but at the sight of him, he falls as one dead (v17). For him, the exalted and glorified Christ is he who dominates and controls all history’s events and people. Not Presidents, Prime Ministers, kings, beasts, the world, death or hell, but Jesus Christ. He the Lamb in the midst of the throne is LORD.
(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)