Verse 1) 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,
Verse 2) Who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that
Verse 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. (NKJV)
We start off with the second word of the first verse, the word Revelation. I’m sorry, but at this time I do not have a program where I can give you the word in the Greek letters. The English spelling is apokalupsis (pronounced ap-ok-al’-oop-sis). It literally means the uncovering of something. Here in this verse it is used metaphorically to mean “the removal of the veil of ignorance and darkness by the communication of light and knowledge.” Right there in the second word, we learn the intention for the entire book: that is, to unveil the glory of Christ and His finished work on the cross beyond our salvation unto the future of His creation. This first verse also tells us these revelations are from Jesus, the Anointed One. (While the NKJV says “of Jesus”, the Greek actually infers “from Jesus”).
Yet it is not just from Jesus. It was given to Him by God the Father. This supports the Gospels where Jesus always said that only the Father knew the when of the end time and the final judgment. God the Father revealed this to Jesus so He could reveal this to us – the Scripture says, “to show His servants.” There are many words in the Greek which are translated “servant” in the English. Some are literally defined as slave. some as hired servant, and some as bond servant. These Greek words also differentiate between a house and a field servant. The Greek at these verses is doulos (pronounced doo’-los) and literally translates as slave. According to Strong (exhaustive concordance). the word is used metaphorically. It speaks of voluntary service. It defines as persons of voluntary obedience and devotion in the following of God’s Word and the worship of God and His Christ. Thus, the Father reveals to Christ so that Christ can reveal to us. Have you ever heard the statement, “You’ll hear as soon as I do”? Jesus could have said that to His disciples in the Gospels, and that is exactly what happens in this book called Revelation.
John tells us that what is about to happen will happen quickly, swiftly. Now we can say this book was written in 95 A.D., almost 1,935 years ago. I think it is safe to say that for most of us this does not sound very swift. We have to keep in mind that our view of time and God’s view of time is not the same. While we are trapped and limited by chronological time, the Father moves and exists outside of time. A day for God is not limited to 24 hours. Our day may be limited, but not God’s. In the Genesis story, people get all bent out of shape about God’s creating the world in seven days. That’s because they always interpret it as 24-hour days. The Scripture never says 24-hour days. The first chapter of Genesis, verses 3-5, says, “Then God said let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” If we follow the process of creation all the way through the 7 days, we see that each day separates the events of creation, but nowhere do they claim to be in only 24-hour increments.
God dwells outside of time. I love the example Pastor Joseph Prince uses, when he talks about standing on the side of the road watching a parade. What we see are the floats that are passing in front of us. We watch the parade in chronological time. After each float passes. we can no longer see it. And what is to come we must wait to see. God is watching the parade from a helicopter. He is high enough up where He can see the staging area and everything that is going on all the way to the finish. What the Father thinks is swift is usually not swift to us, but what John tells us is about to take place is coming very shortly for God.
John says that this message is certified by the one presenting it. As we read the scripture, we get the idea that Jesus himself did not send this message but instead sent it through His angel. About 99% of the time, the Greek for this word translates as “celestial messenger,” but 1% can be defined as the spiritual body of the one represented. John is telling us that Jesus in His spiritual self appeared to him and told him (John) these things!
In verse 2, John tells us that he bore witness to the Word of God. Again, the Greek and the English do not completely line up. The Greek is not an uncommon word for us. It is one that we as Christians are very acquainted with. It is the word logos (pronounced log’-os.) It means a word as uttered by the living voice, to witness both the act of speaking and the thing spoken. John is saying that he bore witness not only to the word spoken but also to the speaker. John wants us to know that his witness recorded in this writing is of the logos of God – Jesus Christ, and that this writing is the testimony (the truth given) of all things revealed by the Father to Jesus Christ.
Verse 3 is where today’s study really gets exciting! John opens with the word “blessing”. In the Greek, this word is makarios (pronounced mak-ar’-ee-os). It means freely receiving God’s favor in spite of circumstances. Now think about that definition….think about the book we are studying, a book that will reveal terrible times, persecution, destruction, death, punishment, and eternal damnation for some. Yet in the 3rd verse John pronounces a blessing. Not just any blessing, but a makarios blessing. A blessing for us to freely receive God’s favor in spite of the circumstances. To really understand the power of this word, it should really end the sentence rather than beginning it.
John goes on to tell us that those of us who hear and read the words of this prophecy, and live out our lives in faith, believing these things that he (John) is writing, will be markarios blessed. What does John mean by prophecy? The Greek here is propheteia (pronounced prof-ay-ti’-ah) and translates as the prediction and foretelling of future events under the influence of God.
How this verse might be constructed for better understanding is this: “He who reads and hears the words of God’s predictions and foretelling of future events – and keeps mindful of those things which are written – will freely receive God’s favor in spite of the circumstances.” Folks, this is a great promise to those who are faithful (truly seek to believe). God’s promises and blessings are not dependent on our circumstance or the circumstances of the world around us. They are only dependent on placing our faith, hope, and trust in His Word and the mighty truth of that Word. This should bring great comfort as we experience today’s world….. John also intended this to be a great comfort to those who at the time of his writing were undergoing trials, persecutions, and loss.
John ends the verse with “for the time is near.” The Greek for time is kairos (pronounced kahee-ros’) and defines as a set time, a time in the chronological order of things set for a specific purpose. In this case, the “set time” is for the second coming of Christ and the physical appearance of His Kingdom. All these things that Jesus is revealing to John happens so that John can reveal them to the Church, to help prepare for Christ’s second coming.
Let’s sum it up:
1) The purpose of this writing is to remove the veil from the Church for the second coming of Christ.
2) This unveiling is from Christ and about Christ.
3) This unveiling came to Christ from God the Father for the express purpose of being revealed to us.
4) In God’s time, it will happen quickly.
5) John’s witness is not only to the word uttered but also to the speaker of that word.
6) Hearing and keeping this word promises God’s favor on those who do in spite of the circumstances.
7) The set time of Jesus’ return is near.