Chapter Breakup

  • v1-3 The Introduction and Blessing
  • v4-7 The Eternal Author Introduced
  • v8-11 The Great Voice to the Ecclesias
  • v12-20 The Vision of the Son of Man

Introduction and Blessing

1:1 – The Revelation of Jesus Christ

Gk – apokalupsis – means to uncover, reveal and is translated: ‘revealed’, ‘manifested’ in Romans 8:18-19 because it reveals the ultimate hope of the saints

which God have unto him

So, the chain of communication is God > Christ > Angel > John > Reader > Hearer > Keeper (v1-3): keeping the commands is how we become friends (John 15:14-15)

he sent and signified it by his angel

Revelation is a book of signs given to those servants of Christ who would keep its sayings. Being symbolic, it is designed not to be understood by the lazy or apostate (Matt 13:10-11). Serious students of it glorify God (Prov 25:2).

1:2 – Who bare record

Gk – martureo – to give testimony, be a witness of the Word of God and of the testimony of Jesus Christ 

The idea of testifying occurs in 1:5,9; 2:13; 3:14; 6:9; 11:3,7; 17:6; 19:10; 20:4; 22:16,20.

One of the themes of John’s gospel is the proof concerning the authenticity of Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God. One of the themes of the Apocolypse is to show how that witness was borne by many others and carried out into the world.

1:3 – Blessed

Gk – makarios – there are seven blessings in Revelation (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7,14)

is he that readeth

Gk – anaginosko – to gather exact knowledge

and they that hear

Gk – akouo – to perceive with the ears: faith comes by this type of hearing (Rom 10:17)

and keep

Gk – tereo – observe narrowly, guard: there must be a practical application to the lessons of this book those things that are written therein: for the time is at hand

That is ‘the time’ of the outworking of the prophecy ‘is near’.

The Eternal Author Introduced

1:4 – John to the seven ecclesias

John wrote during the reign of Domitian (81- 96AD) from prison on the isle

of Patmos. John was most likely imprisoned around 95AD.

from him which is, and which was, and which is to come

Same terminology is used of both the Father and the Son (v4, v8). Hence this language speaks of the Eternal Spirit in two separate phases — before and after manifestation in a Son.

He ‘is’ = Spirit currently manifested through the life of the immortal Jesus.

He ‘was’ = Spirit in existence before Adam.

He ‘that is coming’ = Spirit soon to be revealed through Christ and the saints in glory (v7).

and from the seven Spirits

Verb is in the singular – ‘the seven spirits which is before the throne.’

There is only one spirit (Eph 4:4; 1 Cor 12:4,13)

Once more then we have a figure of speech which emphasises the fact that the one who is addressing us is the focalisation of the complete power and wisdom of God (4:5; 5:6).

Symbolic of the one spirit in perfect manifestation. Jesus is now a perfect manifestation of God, all seeing, and all powerful.

The title is used in the letter to Sardis (3:1).

which are before his throne

In what sense can God’s power and perfection be said to be before the throne? The throne is God’s place of authority in heaven. The personification of absolute power and wisdom continues. It is like a series of attendants before His throne ready and waiting to be sent out to execute His will.

1:5 – And from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness

Title is used of the Lord in his letter to Laodicea (3:14)

unto him that loved us

John highlights the motive for giving us this last message — love for his brethren.

and washed us from our sins in his own blood

John highlights this in 5:9; 7:14; 12:11

1:6 – And hath made us kings and priests

This message will now detail how this promise will become a reality in the visons of glory.

1:7 – Behold, he cometh with clouds

Gk is in present tense – look, he is coming with the clouds! For every generation there has to be this present tense attitude. He is on his way!

Rivers, waters and seas representing nations (17:15; Isa 57:20). God ‘evaporates’ out of the sea of nations a people for His name (Acts 15:14) and they become a cloud (Heb 12:1), sitting in heavenly places (spiritual elevation) with Christ (Eph 2:6).

At the resurrection, under the influence of the sun (Mal 4:1), the saints ascend as dew (Isa 26:19) to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess 4:17) and become clouds to bring judgement on the nations (Rev 16:18-21).

Having judged the nations in the evening (Isa 17:12-14, Psa 149:6-9 note: v6 sword & mouth), the new day begins. This is the kingdom age where the saints will teach the world (Psa 72:6; Deut 32:2) after which there will be no more clouds (2 Sam 23:4).

and every eye shall see him

It doesn’t say simultaneously! Allusion to Zech 12:10-14. All flesh will see the glory of Yahweh (Isa 40:5, 66:19).

and they also which pierced him

This implies the resurrection of those who slew him (Luke 13:20-24) as well as the current gen- eration of Jews (Zech 13:6, 12:10).

and all kindreds (phule = tribes) of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

These tribes are the tribes of Israel, both in the land and dispersed amongst the world.