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Read through the Bible: Jesus Is Coming (Revelation 1:1-8)

Pastor of Iglesia Conexiones (Conexiones Church) in Jessup, MD. B.A. in Bible, B.S. English Ed., M.S. in Educational Leadership. Author.

Worship before The Throne of God

Deutsch: Auftraggeber: Otto III. oder Heinrich II. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Deutsch: Auftraggeber: Otto III. oder Heinrich II. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

My Perspective o Revelation

I am interpreting the book of Revelation from the view that it concerns events that are still future to us, even though it does make reference to events during and before the year 70 AD (when Jerusalem and its temple were destroyed).

I think that there is sufficient external and internal evidence that indicates the book of Revelation was written during the government of the Roman emperor Domitian. However, I think it is also possible that it was written during tthe times of Vespasian, sometime after 70 AD.

Commentary on Revelation 1:1-2

A Message for God's Servants

(v.1) The author introduces the book by identifying it as "the revelation of Jesus Christ." He does not mean that Jesus Christ is being revealed (unveiled), but that the revelation proceeds from Jesus. God gave the revelation to Jesus so Jesus would show to God's servants the things that will take place soon. In order to show the revelation to God's servants, Jesus sent his angel to John.

Thus, it is God who unveils the contents of the book to Jesus. We should not be surprised about this fact because the Lord said that only the Father knew about the day and the hour of the end times (Mark 13:32, Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7).

After the Lord received this revelation from the Father, he communicated it to John through "his angel," who seems to be the Lord's personal messenger. The Lord did this because it was the Father's intent that he would show God's servants the things that would soon come to pass.

Now, Revelation does indicate that an angel gave a little book to John (Revelation 10:2, 10). Then the angel told John he would still need to prophesy before many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings. This does not mean that the book of Revelation was passed down to John already in a written form, but that Jesus used the angel to facilitate John's visions. After all, the Bible states that even the Torah (the Law of Moses) was delivered by angels (Hebrews 2:1), although it was clearly God Himself who spoke to Moses.

(v.2) The author also explains that John testified of God's word, the teachings of Jesus, and all the things that he saw (a reference to the visions recorded in the book).

Commentary on Revelation 1:3

A Blessing for Those Who Read

(v.3) The author pronounces a blessing on anyone who reads aloud in the church the book of Revelation (so were the Hebrew Bible and the writings of the apostles read to the churches), and on all those who keep (treasure, obey) what the book says: these believers are blessed by the reading of the book because they can find comfort in the promises made to them and in the Lord's ultimate victory.

The book is a book of prophecy, and time for its prophesies to be fulfilled is close. By the time being close, the author probably means that "some" of the events in the book would take place soon, especially the events that concern the seven churches.

It is also possible that the author means that the time is close from the Lord's perspective: for, to the Lord, a thousand years are like a day, and a day is like a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8).

Commentary on Revelation 1:4-5a

John to The Churches

(v.4) The author now identifies himself as John. This is John, the one who testified of God's word, the one who testified about Jesus, and the one to whom this revelation was sent (see verse 2). This is John, the one who is a brother to the believers in the churches to whom this book is addressed, the one who is also their companion in tribulation, the one who is also their companion in the kingdom of Jesus Christ and in the patience of Jesus Christ (see verse 9). This person is John, the one who was in the island of Patmos due to his ministry for the word of God and the gospel of Christ. There can be little doubt that this man, who identifies himself simply as John, was a man known to the churches, one who was easily recognized by them: namely, John, the Lord's disciple (see Matthew 4:21, Mark 1:19, Luke 5:10, Acts 1:13, Galatians 2:9).

The author, John, also identifies the audience of the book: seven churches in ancient Roman Asia, what is now Turkey. To these churches, John wishes (blesses with) grace and peace, which will be relevant to them as they endure persecutions.

(v.4-5a) John states that this grace and peace are from The One Who Is, Was, and Will Come (a reference to God the Father), the Seven Spirits of God before His Throne (a reference to the Holy Spirit), and from Jesus Christ. Thus, John appears to be making a reference to the baptismal formula in Matthew 28:19.

(v.4) God the Father is likely identified as The One Who Is, Was, and Will Come because He is eternal, because His name means I AM (Exodus 3:14), and because He will appear over Israel (Zechariah 9:14).

(v.4) The Holy Spirit is probably referred to as The Seven Spirits Before His Throne because He is present in the seven churches (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). Notice that each candlestick (lampstand) that represents a church (Revelatio 1:20) would need a flame, and the Spirit is related to the symbol of fire (1 Thessalonians 5:19, Acts 2:19, Luke 24:32).

(v.5a) The book calls the Lord Jesus Christ The Faithful Witness, probably because He taught God's word faithfully despite having to suffer persecutions and martyrdom for it. The Lord is also called the Frist Begotten from The Dead because He is the firstfruits of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23). The Lord is also the Prince of The Kings of The Earth because He will reign over the whole world (Psalm 2:7-9).

Commentary on Revelation 1:5b-6

Dedication to Jesus

(v.5b-6) John now dedicates the book to Jesus Christ, and ascribes him glory and dominion for ever. He identifies why Jesus is worthy of glory and dominion: he loved us so much he shed his own blood to atone for our sins, and thus he has purified us and made us kings and priests for his God and Father.

That Jesus identifies the Father as his God does not contradict that Jesus is one being with the Father and the Holy Spirit. After all, the book of Revelation will also identify Jesus as the Word of God, which means that Jesus proceeds from the essence of the Father (this identification of Jesus as the Word of God is a common theme with the Gospel of John and the First Epistle of John, and this commonality lends support to the view that the same John who wrote the gospel and the epistle is the same person who wrote Revelation).

Commentary on Revelation 1:7-8

Jesus Is Coming

(v.7) John now states the subject of this revelation, of this prophecy: the coming of the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ, who left this world by ascending from the earth to a cloud (Acts 1:9) will return; and this book of prophecy reveals what we should know about his return.

When the Lord returns, he will return with clouds, just as the angels told the disciples he would do (Acts 1:11), and just as Daniel prophesied the Messiah would come to receive the kingdom (Daniel 7:13).

Most likely, these clouds are not ordinary clouds, but the clouds that manifest the presence of God (Exodus 13:21). Thus, the clouds point out to the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, for according to the Bible it is God who is in the clouds (Psalm 104:3, 78:14, 97:2, 99:7, 104:3, 105:39).

According to John, when the Lord returns to Earth, every eye will see him: in other words, everyone will know that he is returning. This principle is in agreement with the Lord's teaching, who in Matthew 24:27 indicates that his return will not be concealed, but manifest to everyone.

Since the Lord has not visibly returned (since we have not seen Him return), the book of Revelation is about an event that has not yet occurred, though it makes references to other past events.

Moreover, John quotes a portion of Zechariah 12:10, where Hashem (Jehovah, God the Father) states that He will be seen by Israel, that Israel will realize they pierced Him, and that Israel will mourn for Him (evidence of repentance because on them will come the Spirit of grace and supplication, and because they will realize that they were wrong about Jesus, whom they rejected and pierced on the cross).

Why then does John apply Zechariah 12:10 to Jesus if Zechariah is talking about Hashem? The reason is that John believes that Jesus is the Word of God, who proceeds from the essence of the Father's being, in whom God is perfectly revealed. Once again, this is strong proof for the Lord's divinity.

John states that all families on the Earth will wail because of Him. While their wailing could be a sign of repentance, it could also mean only that they will realize they have done wrong: for the moment when everyone sees the Lord returning is the moment when Hashem will fight for Israel against all the nations that come to war against it (Zechariah 12:9).

Thus, Revelation does not only concern the church, but also Israel.

(v.8) John then closes the introduction to the book by quoting God the Father (we know it is God the Father who speaks because in verse 4 John identifies God the Father as The One Who Is, Was, and Is to Come), who declares himself to be the Alpha and the Omega (the first and the last letter of the Greek alphabet). The title The Alpha and The Omega is very likely synonymous with the title The First and The Last (Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, and 48:12), which means that God is eternal and that He is the only God there is.

God also calls Himself The Almighty, which title means that God is the only one who is all-powerful.

Conclusion

Jesus is returning in the clouds of God's glory. Because everything that God is dwells in Jesus (Colossians 2:9), and because Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15), his return means that God the Father is coming, just as He said in Zechariah 9:14.

© 2018 Marcelo Carcach

Comments

Jeremiah on February 26, 2019:

Sometimes we just have to “trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding...” Proverbs 3:5. It’s similar to when Paul in Acts 13:41 quoted Habakkuk 1:5 “Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you”. He was warning those who hear the gospel but reject it. But if you look at the rest of the Old Testament passage that was quoted it says further “For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs”. What do the Chaldeans have to do with this warning? And surely God isn’t going to send the Chaldeans after those who don’t believe the gospel, then or now. Sometimes verses are quoted regardless of the “context” within the Bible. That’s why I believe it’s unwise to be restricted to “context” when applying the word of God to spiritual matters.

Marcelo Carcach (author) from Westminster, MD on February 26, 2019:

So what is the logic behind it? How did they come to that conclusion from Amos 9:11-12? Here's what Amos 9:11-12 says:

"In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:

That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this." (KJV)

Jeremiah on February 26, 2019:

It was in regards to a dispute about wether or not the Gentiles needed to keep the law and be circumcised. The prophecy in Amos seems to be quoted to show that “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written...” then Amos is quoted to show that the gentiles coming to God by faith was prophesied in the prophets and had been fulfilled when Peter preached to Cornelius. It was implied that the prophecy shows that the Gentiles do not need to keep the law or be circumcised.

Acts 15:19-20 “Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”

Marcelo Carcach (author) from Westminster, MD on February 22, 2019:

It is interesting to see Amos 9:11-12 quoted in Acts 15:16-17. What do you think the events in Acts have to do with that passage in Amos?

Jeremiah on February 21, 2019:

In the book of Acts (15:16) the prophecy about raising up the tabernacle of David (quoted from Amos 9:11) is mentioned as proof about a fulfilled prophecy; so your assessment that the prophecy about a famine of hearing the word being already fulfilled seems to be correct. And in Second Thessalonians 2:10 where it is written “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” Further demonstrates that access to the “truth” was possible but rejected. I stand corrected. But people can still choose not to “hear” the word

Though it be told them. Like when Jesus told the people in John 8:43 “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.”

Marcelo Carcach (author) from Westminster, MD on February 20, 2019:

I think that the times to which Amos 8:11-12 refers have already taken place. Since the times of the Lord Jesus and His apostles, God has not given Israel any more prophets. Assuming that John died in the late first century, that's almost two thousand years without revelation! On the other hand, during the tribulation, it is possible that they will use the book of Revelation to identify the beast, for the number of the beast is given so the beast can be identified.

Jeremiah on February 20, 2019:

The book of revelation has many things that are hard to be understood and I wonder if the saints that will live through this period will have access to this book as we do in our time since an Old Testament prophecy states that “there will be a famine of hearing the word” and that “they shall not find it”. Amos 8:11-12.

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