Rev 1:1-3 – Prologue

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Rev 1:1

  1. The word “revelation” is “apŏkalupsis” in Greek and can be translated as “revelation”, “manifestation” or “revelation”.
    1. From the Greek word “apŏkalupsis” we get the word “apocalyptic”, which is a literary genre that aims to reveal and reveal future prophetic events, especially in the last days. Examples of apocalyptic texts in the Bible are: the book of Daniel chapters 7-12, Matthew 24, Mark 13, 2 Thess 2 and the book of Revelation.
    1. It is important to understand that this “revelation” is the “revelation of Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who owns this revelation and who chooses to show (reveal) it to the apostle John who then writes it down so that all of us can share it.
  2. What does Jesus reveal in this scripture?
    1. First, the book of Revelation is a revelation of Jesus Christ. In this scripture we learn more about Jesus and who sits on the throne in heaven.
      1. Secondly, Jesus reveals a lot of knowledge about the end times, the Antichrist and God’s judgment.
    1. If we only read Revelation to find out more about the Antichrist or the end times, then we have missed perhaps the main purpose of Scripture, to reveal Jesus Christ to us.
  3. In contrast to an “apocrypha”, which means “to hide” or “to keep secret”, the book of Revelation is an “apocalypse”, i.e. a “revelation” or a “disclosure”.
    1. The message of Revelation, then, is something that God wants his servants to know. Discussing and trying to understand this scripture is therefore in line with God’s will.
      1. What is meant by “soon”? Time is relative and what one person perceives as fast, another perceives as slow. It is now 2000 years since this revelation, so by human standards we can probably say that this prophecy has not been fulfilled “soon”, but from God’s perspective “a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day” (2 Peter 3:8).
    1. The word “soon” is “en tachei” in Greek and does not necessarily mean that it “will happen soon” but rather that once the end time begins, it will “happen quickly“.
      1. This interpretation fits well with Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:22, where we read that the last days will be shortened for “the sake of the elect”.
  4. In verse 1 we see that the book of Revelation was written by “John”, but we don’t know exactly which John is meant, since it was a common name in New Testament times. But the best guess is the apostle John, a fact on which Christian tradition is relatively unanimous (see, for example, Justinus Martyr’s Dialogue with Tryphon the Jew, chapter 81).
    1. According to Eusebius’ Church History, the Book of Revelation was written during Emperor Domitian’s severe persecution of the early Christians in the mid-90s (Eusebius Church History, book III, chapter 18).
    2. John received this revelation about Jesus Christ from an angel, who also guided and helped John to understand the revelation (Rev 5:2, 10:8-9, 17:7).

Rev 1:3

  1. Today, it is common to have your own Bible, but in New Testament times, people read aloud from the biblical scriptures when they gathered for worship (2 Corinthians 3:14). In other words, the first Christians listened to the Bible rather than read it.
  2. Not only should one read and listen to the book of Revelation, but one should also heed the message of the book of Revelation.
    1. We do not know exactly when Jesus will return, so we must always be prepared for his return. A good way to take advantage of the message of Revelation is therefore to live your life as if Jesus is coming back soon. We should not postpone our sanctification until retirement age, but instead continually develop our faith right here and now.
      1. Since Jesus will come as “a thief in the night”, those who are not “spiritually awake” and preparing themselves here and now, risk missing Jesus’ return (1 Thess 5:1-11, Matt 25:1-13).
  3. Reading, listening to and heeding the message of Revelation is the first of seven “beatitudes” in the book of Revelation (Rev 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7, 22:14).
    1. Some Christians do not believe that the book of Revelation should be read or preached, or even included in the Bible. But if God considers this revelation so important that he sends an angel to reveal it to us, surely we should at least consider it important enough to read it and make an effort to try to understand it?
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