The Book of Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John…. The Greek word for revelation (1:1) is(apokálupsis) or apocalypse, and is made up of “from,” and, “to cover, hide, or conceal.” When you move “from” cover, hide, or conceal, you move toward “revelation, disclosure, manifestation.” As indicated in the word itself, it is not the purpose of the Book of Revelation to hide, but to reveal and therefore we should expect to understand this book. It is not a book of hallucinations; it is a revelation (singular, it is one revelation, not many) from Jesus Christ which was given to Him by the Father. It is not primarily a revelation about Jesus Christ; it is a revelation from Jesus Christ. It is a prophecy from God the Father, through Jesus Christ, to His bond-servant (1:1), that is, His slave, John. Daniel had a similar experience.
"… there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:" (Daniel 2:28)
In the Book of Revelation we are told “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near" (Revelation 22:10).
Why was this command given? It was given because the book was not to remain a secret, sealed-up, but was instead an unveiling, a revelation. Therefore, we should expect to understand the Book of Revelation, for it was written to be understood.
The phrase, which God gave Him (1:1) “…shows the office of Christ as revealer of the Godhead.” Christ holds and exercises the offices of prophet, priest and king. In the Book of Revelation, we primarily see Him exercising His office of prophet and revealing to us the divine plan of the Father. Although it certainly reveals Him as king and priest as well. John makes the point that the revelation he is now receiving was from God the Father through God the Son to John. Jesus in His high priestly prayer says to the Father “…the words which You gave Me I have given to them…” (John 17:8). Taking note of this is characteristic of John and an indication of his authorship of the Book of Revelation.
Revelation 1:1 - Pt 1
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Revelation, then, was given to show (1:1), that is, “to make known the character or significance of something by visual, auditory, gestural, or linguistic means….” Its purpose is not to hide, but to disclose . If its message is hidden, it is contrary to God’s purpose.
It appears that Daniel 2:28-30, 45-47 is John’s pattern for his introduction to the Book of Revelation. In the Greek translation of Daniel the word revelation (1:1), appears five times, to show (1:1) appears twice, and the phrase the things which must … take place (1:1) appears three times. However the word soon (1:1) is not found in the Daniel but is a substitute for the words “in the latter days” (Daniel 2:28). The point of the substitute is that with the passing of several hundred years the “latter days” are now soon (1:1) to appear. “John’s substitution of (soon) implies his expectation that the final tribulation, defeat of evil, and establishment of the kingdom, which Daniel expected to occur distantly “in the latter days,” would begin in his own generation….”
This book, like all the books of the Bible, was written to a contemporary audience. In this case, to seven churches in Asia Minor, a geographic region near the Middle East now called Turkey. Although we instinctively seek to apply Scripture to our own day and life, it is not really possible to do that correctly until we have first asked the question, “What message did it have to its original audience?”
But others believe this book had little or nothing to say to its original audience, but was instead written for an audience some two or three thousand years in the future, however, the statements of the book assert otherwise. John says that the things contained in the Apocalypse must soon take place (1:1). Look at the Greek word must (1:1),(dei), it means, “that which must necessarily take place, often with the implication of inevitability.” Must (1:1), then, sets the tone by giving the book an air of urgency and immediacy for things which must soon take place (1:1). The near future is determined by Divine decree.
John says that these things are about to happen and drives home the point by concluding the introduction with “…the time is near…” (1:3). This sentiment of immediacy colors the whole book for John, as if to put time sensitive covers around the book. The Book of Revelation concludes by saying, “…the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place…” (Revelation 22:6). And then he adds, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near” (Revelation 22:10). In contrast to John’s message, compare these words of impending expectation with those of Daniel. “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time…” (Daniel 12:4). And consider these words, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time” (Daniel 12:9).
What we have here are instructions for Daniel to “conceal these words” and “seal up the book” because there will yet be a considerable amount of time before they are fulfilled. How long? Daniel wrote about 530 B.C. These concluding words from Daniel refer to the coming of political leaders and events of the distant future, some of them reaching to the time of Christ and others to the A.D. 70 era of the Book of Revelation. There was a delay of 344 to 558 years before these events of Daniel were to occur. This delay was for such a prolonged period, and because the prophecies of Daniel had no immediate relevance to Daniel’s current audience, Daniel was therefore told to “seal up the book” until a later period when all this would come to pass and make sense.
On the other hand, the book of Revelation is nearly 2000 years old and, according to some, we have yet to see the first prophecy fulfilled, even though we are told “do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near” (Revelation 22:10). Something is radically wrong here. If 344 to 558 years were so long as to demand a sealing of the book, would not 2000 years require an even stronger message to conceal and seal the book? John, on the other hand, was told not to seal the book because “the time is near.” Jay Adams makes this very point saying, “Unlike John’s, Daniel’s prophecy did not constitute a ‘contemporary’ message, and was therefore sealed until the times of which he wrote. In direct contrast, Jesus told John not to seal the Apocalypse, for the matters it concerns were ‘at hand.’ ”
This sound of immediacy accords with the tone of the New Testament as a whole. As we have seen in the Olivet discourse, Jesus teaches the nearness of the predicted events.
Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (Matthew 24:34)
Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (Matthew 16:28)
Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Matthew 23:36)
The same theme of looming judgment echoes across the pages of many New Testament books. Facing the Sanhedrin, Jesus tells them that some of them would live to see Him come in judgment, a prophecy that could not take place much more than forty years in the future.
Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”(Matthew 26:64)