The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his
servants things which must shortly come to pass; and
he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
Revelation of Jesus Christ This is like the book's title. The rest
of verse 1 and verse 2 are like the subtitle.
gave unto him, to shew So it is Jesus Christ
who reveals these marvels to us. The words "revelation of Jesus Christ"
may also mean "revelation about Jesus Christ" in Greek as it can in English.
Of course it's both, but taking the significance of this verse to mean
"by" is the more natural understanding because it is something God gave
him to show to us.
Why did Christ have this relationship between the Father and us? he0210-14. Jesus chose to take humanity. Because He bore the cross and gained the victory over sin and death, we may, by His strength, also be conquerors ro0837. In His humanity He walked in dependence on the Father, establishing His right to give us, although humans, His power to become children of God jn0112 overcoming the lustful corruption in the world 2pe0104.
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The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew
unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and
signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
Things which must shortly come to pass Nearly two thousand years have passed since this was written. Why would the Holy Spirit have indicated that things would take place "shortly"? Some scholars take this as evidence that the book was relevant only in the time of John and immediately after, leaving the book with only a few moral lessons for us today. This position is easier to assume if one doesn't look too closely. Already in verse 7 we see what is certainly a closing event in earth's history as we know it.
The Greek word for "shortly" may include events already begun. Paul wrote briefly about the same major concerns as are outlined in the Book of Revelation. The mystery of lawlessness is a primary one 2th0207.
come to pass.
At the end of the book (and part of a chiastic pattern discussed) we see the assurance from our Lord that He would come quickly re2220. In fact, that is the third time "coming quickly" mentioned in that chapter. In a relative sense, "quickly" implies "suddenly." Also, for those who are unprepared, Jesus' return will certainly have come "quickly." re1615.
One thing is certain. He is coming and I look forward to that event. Today, the terms "shortly" and "quickly" certainly must have a literal as well as a symbolic meaning. The cup of iniquity for the Canaanites was full when God put an end to much of their wicked existence ge1516, nu2101. Certainly the wickedness in our earth is getting to that point again. Now, as then, the faithful ones are spared. God warned the world through Noah before He destroyed the earth with a flood ge0603.
|.2 [John]Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. [or "even to all that he saw" NASB].||This verse turns our attention to the way God reveals truth. The two channels appear again in chapter 11 as the witnesses. In the previous verse the "revelation" was given to Christ by God. So in this sense it is the word of God as well as the testimony of Jesus Christ. The two terms in our verse also remind us of a dual source of light recognized by Isaiah is0820. For explanation see the note for this verse.|
¶ Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this
prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time
is at hand.
Note: This is the first of seven blessings in the book of Revelation re1909. It's a magnificent promise in the introduction to prophecies about deceptive religion and oppression of God's people and the terrible consequences He has in store. Let's notice three points (at the right):
that readeth and ... hear While God has given
the plan of church fellowship and pastoral leadership, it was never His
intention that our understanding of the Scriptures be dependent on any
group of church-appointed people, no matter what scholarship or piety they
might have. They may help us understand, but we must each read or hear
for ourselves. We are directly responsible to God. To know how to understand
directly from the Bible text, see the note
for this verse.
They that hear The promise is for hearers as well as readers. God doesn't leave out the multitude of illiterate souls who are His precious children, too.
And keep those things The blessing is conditional upon keeping the things written in the book. "Keep" here means to guard or protect. I take this to mean that we are to protect the words from misunderstanding, and to live in harmony with them. This would include remembering them. In any case, we clearly have reason to read and understand the book we are beginning hk0201.
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace,
from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven
Spirits which are before his throne;
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
John to the seven churches Here, in the introduction to his book, John reveals that the messages of the whole book are for the seven churches. Might God have intended a much larger audience using the seven churches as symbols? As we examine the book, we see the scope of the prophecy including the final warnings of mercy to the inhabitants of the whole earth re1406, re1801ff, Christ's coming in glory re0107 and more, we see that the messages are pertinent to believers until the end of earth's history. Again in verse 11 we see the messages of the book being directed to the seven churches. In Chapters 2 and 3 the churches are addressed one by one. We will learn more there.
continued from those at the left:
Seven The number seven occurs frequently in the book of Revelation and elsewhere in the Bible. For its root meaning as a symbol we look back to the beginning of the Bible where it is associated with God's finished work of creation ge0201ff. It indicates completeness or perfection.
Asia That is, Western Asia Minor, east of Greece.
Grace unto you. This is like a gift package. It is marked "to" and "from." The gift is the grace and peace which we certainly need as we read about the serious and terrible events in this book. As noted, we may see ourselves in the seven churches and thus among the readers and hearers of the book.
From The "from" part is most interesting. Notice that there are three entities: (1) the eternal One on the throne, (2) The seven Spirits, and (3) Jesus Christ. We recognize them as what has been called the Trinity. Compare mt2818f. In chapter 4 we see why the Holy Spirit would be seen as seven spirits re0405b. Here, however, is confirmation of the divine source of blessing.
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten
of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved
us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
.6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
and priests Many translations read "a kingdom of priests." As ex1906.
Christ is our king. We are citizens of the kingdom mt0417mt2501
and hence priests 1pe0209
who present offerings he0501.
On the other hand we may see two categories who judge with Christ during
the thousand years. See on re2006.
A marvelous picture of our Lord. Below, we draw meaning from this text.
fullness of Christ
"And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father. . . ." (Rev. 1:5, 6)
Rev. 1:5b, 6a
|What it means to us|
|His life shows us God & qualifies Him as Judge||He loved us||He lived so we could believe (John 18:37)|
from the dead
|He was resurrected /
after He died
|So we could be cleansed
and forgiven (ro0603,4)
|Ruler of kings||He reigns in heaven||Made us kings and priests||He sat on His throne so
we can join Him. (0321)
We may teach (mt2818); and judge (re2004)