Summary: A very easy-to-understand teaching on Revelation 1.
A little 5-year old girl was "helping" her mother fix dinner one evening when the mother asked her to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomatoes. The little girl said she was afraid to go in there because it was dark.
The mother told her it was okay, as nothing was going to hurt her because Jesus was in there to protect her. The little girl then went to the pantry, opened the door, and said, "Jesus, if you are in there, hand me a can of tomatoes, okay?"
In relation to the book of Revelation, we are like that little girl. We are afraid and intimidated by this book, so we don’t want to get into it and study it, feeling that we will not understand it. So, we opt to stay out of it and want somebody else to give us all the information from it.
Let me assure you right now that nothing in this book is scary, except for the message as it applies to those who deny Christ. You will walk out of here today with the confidence that, you too, can fully understand this wonderful book.
So, with that, let us just jump right in and begin with Revelation 1:1.
VERSE 1 - NIV
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.”
Let’s explain each part.
. . . "The revelation of Jesus Christ" -
In some versions of the Bible, the title reads, “the Revelation of St. John.” When the Bible was written, there were no titles, chapters, or verses. It was all written as single letters. These delineations were all put there by man so he could read and remember it better. The correct title should only be, “THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST”, or even better, “THE REVEALING OF JESUS CHRIST”.
. . . "which God gave him" -
This revelation was given, not to John, but to Jesus Christ as God had given it to Him. It is the revealing of the eternal plan of God for the people He created. John was chosen to see it so he could write it down for others to read.
. . . "which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place" -
The Father gave revelation to the Son. The Son gave revelation to John. And John gave revelation to us so that we might understand the things that must shortly come to pass. The Lord is saying that when these things begin to happen, they will increase in speed until the end.
It is like having a bathtub full of water and then letting the drain plug out. The water begins to go down the drain, and when it gets to a very low level, you can see that magical whirlpool begin to form. You know, at that point, that the water is going to start draining faster and faster until it’s gone. So it will be with the events in the End Times. Be prepared, and be very faithful.
. . . "He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John" -
Some versions of the Bible read “He made it known” while others read “He sent and signified it”. The original Hebrew and Greek transcripts both use words that mean “written or made known by signs.” This is why many people don’t think they can understand this book; much of it deals with signs of things that happen at specific points in time, rather than being spelled out in exact terms such as we would do today.
Words change over time and distance and societies. What I might write today could lose all of its original meaning in 200 to 500 years, but signs remain constant. All we must do is prayerfully study the word.
John, the “disciple that Jesus loved” was a mere teenager when he chose to follow Jesus. That might be one reason he remained so precious to Jesus; he never wavered in his faith and devotion. And he was chosen to write 5 letters for the people.
The Gospel of John was written so that we might know that Jesus is the Christ. 1,2, and 3rd John were written so that we might know we have salvation, and he wrote Revelation so that we might be ready.
VERSE 2 - NIV
“… who testifies to everything he saw--that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
When it comes to whom God chooses to reveal End Time information to, He seems to have one main requirement: The person must be willing to receive the information and be perfectly willing to share it with everyone else. Many people want to know about End Times, but only to fulfill their own personal curiosity, and then they are very hesitant in telling others about it once they find out.