John reveals his awesome encounter with Jesus Christ while imprisoned on the Isle of Patmos and the incredible call he received from Jesus to experience, write and then distribute this prophetic vision to the Church.
v.1-2 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, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, and to all things he saw.
John presents five truths about the origin and dispatch of the Revelation in this opening statement.
- It is the “Revelation” (Greek apokalupsis, “unveiling”) of Jesus Christ
- It is that “which God gave Him”
- It was given so Jesus would in turn “show His servants”
- It was “signified” to John by the angel of Jesus
- John himself “bore witness” to the Revelation
God the Father gave God the Son the Revelation for Him in turn to show it to His servants (doulous, i.e., “bond slaves”). So He might make known to those whom He regards as His friends, His purposes and yet-future intentions for the consummation of our age (John 15:14-15). Why, I believe for the same reason that He chose not to hide from Abraham what He was doing — so we will tell others (see Gen 18: 17-19).
Moreover, so that the Church would have a written record of these things, and the servants of Christ in every generation would be blessed in knowing what must “shortly take place” (happen rapidly upon God’s execution), Jesus sent His angel to escort John into the future to bear witness of it and to record it.
As a result, John the Apostle, from his first encounter with Jesus and entirely through his subsequent journey into the future and back again to Patmos, arduously recorded every word of God, every testimony of Jesus Christ, and every word picture and symbol (the meaning of the word “signified”) just as he heard it and saw it.
v.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.
This should encourage those who haven’t wanted to study Revelation because they consider it too complex, or fearful. Because the day approaches and the “time is near”, therefore the Holy Spirit, desirous that we know the Revelation, includes a “guarantee” that both reader and hearer (those taught by hearing) will be blessed.
So get ready to discover a blessing, dear ones, it’s been promised.
“Your words were found, and I ate them and your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart” (Jer.15:16)
“I rejoice at your word as one who finds great treasure” (Ps.119:62)