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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

February 5, 2014

Revelations 1:1-3

  1. The ancient Greek word translated Revelation is apokalupsis (apocalypse). The word simply means "a revealing, an unveiling." What does the Book of Revelation reveal? It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. This book is Jesus' Revelation in the sense that it belongs to Him, He is the one doing the revealing. It is also Jesus' Revelation in the sense that He is the object revealed; Jesus is the person revealed by the book. We are given the most important truth about the Book of Revelation. This book does show us the Antichrist, it does show us God's judgment, it does show us calamity on the earth, it does show us Mystery Babylon in vivid detail. But most of all, it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ to us. If we catch everything else, but miss Jesus in the book, we have missed the Book of Revelation. God gave this Revelation of Jesus Christ.

    1. He gave it to show His servants. God gave this revelation that it might be shown, not hidden.

    2. This book speaks of “Things which must shortly take place." This describes when the events of this book will take place - they will happen shortly, and they must happen shortly. This means that the Book of Revelation is a book of predictive prophecy. It speaks of things that will happen in the future - at least future from the time of its writing. Some things might have already happened in our past, but in their future. Not all prophecy is predictive. But this prophetic book clearly is predictive. It describes things that must shortly take place. The time is near (Revelation 1:3) for the fulfillment of these things, but the time was not present at the time of writing. Shortly is the ancient Greek phrase en tachei, which means "quickly or suddenly coming to pass," indicating rapidity of execution after the beginning takes place. The idea is not that the event may occur soon, but that when it does, it will be sudden." (Walvoord)

    3. He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John: This describes how the message is delivered in the Book of Revelation. It is a book of signs: the angel sign-ified this message to John. It is a book that communicates in signs. The signs are also necessary because there is tremendous power in symbolic language. It is one thing to call someone or something "evil" or "bad." But it is far more vivid to describe the image of a woman drunk with the blood of the saints (Revelation 17:6). Though it is filled with signs, the Book of Revelation is accessible to those who have an understanding of the first 65 books of the Bible, and especially an understanding of the first 39 books of the Bible, the Old Testament. The Book of Revelation is rooted in the Old Testament. It contains more than 500 allusions to the Old Testament, and 278 of the 404 verses in Revelation (that is almost 70%) make some reference to the Old Testament.

    4. By His angel to His servant John: This tells us who wrote the Book of Revelation. It was His servant John, and the best evidence points to this being the Apostle John, the same writer of the Gospel of John and the books of 1, 2, and 3 John.

    5. By His angel: Many of the signs and visions of the Book of Revelation came to John through the supervision of an angel (Revelation 5:2, 7:2, 10:8 to 11:1, 17:7 are some examples).

  2. Verse 2. Who bore witness to the word of God: In this prologue, we see that John knew this book was Holy Scripture, the word of God. We often wonder if the apostles knew they were writing Holy Scripture. At least in this case, John knew.

    1. He knew it was Holy Scripture because he calls it a revelation from God. He knew it came from the Father through Jesus, and not from any mere human.

    2. He knew it was the Holy Scripture because he calls it the word of God, as an Old Testament prophet would say. He also calls it the testimony of Jesus Christ. This book is about Christ. It is his testimony. We cannot read this book and miss Christ. He is the message. He is the point.

  3. III. Verse 3. The Book of Revelation offers a particular and unique blessing to those who read and keep the message of this book. This is the first of seven beatitudes of Revelation (Revelation 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7, and 22:14) . Because they neglect the book Revelation, many people miss this blessing. For example, the Anglican Church virtually omits Revelation in its regular schedule of readings for both public worship and private devotions. This is a typical attitude towards the Book of Revelation. Many people believe that only fanatics want to dig deep into this book. But really, it is a book for anyone who wants to be blessed. Fortunately, John didn't say that we had to understand everything in the Book of Revelation to be blessed. There are some difficult things in this book,that may only be understood as we look back at fulfilled prophecy. But we can be blessed by reading and hearing even when we don't understand. This promise gives more reasons to know John believed this book was Holy Scripture. First, the words he who reads and those who hear show that this book was intended to be read publicly, just as other accepted Scriptures. Second, the promise of blessing itself shows that John regard this book as Holy Scripture. In the Jewish world, such a blessing could never be pronounced on a merely human book. The Book of Revelation gives us much more than information for prophetic speculation. It gives us things to keep. If we understand the Book of Revelation, it will change the way we live. He who reads is in the singular. It speaks of one person who reads. Those who hear is in the plural. It speaks of many people hearing. The idea is probably from custom of the early church, where attention was given to the public reading of Scripture, which would often be explained. In our modern way of speaking, John might say "Blessed is the pastor who teaches Revelation, and blessed is the congregation who hears it." But most of all, pastor or congregation, blessed are those who keep those things which are written in it.

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