Revelation Prophet John
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3. Revelation Prophet John

Whom Jesus Loved

Apostle JohnThe Revelation prophet John is writing to us from the Early Church from c90-95 AD. An early fragment of John's Gospel from c135 AD gives us this date. Another of the oldest New Testament papyri, known as Papyrus 46, shows parts of 2 Corinthians 11.33-12.9. John wrote his Gospel after the other Gospels, indicating the dating of 90-95 AD for Revelation. The writer of Revelation is traditionally recognized and generally considered to be John, the son of Zebedee, who is one of the Apostles and "the disciple whom Jesus loved." The early second century writers, Justin Martyr (100-165 AD), Irenaeus (c130-c202 AD), Melito the bishop of Sardis, and Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD) identify the author of Revelation as John the Evangelist, the disciple of Jesus. Traditionally, this John of Patmos was also the author of the Gospel of John and the Johannine Epistles and the Book of Revelation. He calls himself "the disciple whom Jesus loved" and speaks fondly of Jesus, his Lord, and Savior, writing from his cave on the Greek prison Isle of Patmos. He reveals to us through divine revelation truths for today and our destiny tomorrow. John of Patmos, whose name means "God has been gracious," repeats for us Jesus' words in Revelation 3.16, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot." After being plunged into a vat of boiling oil and miraculously surviving, the authorities banish John to the Island of Patmos! To this day, icons bearing his image show a scar from boiling oil down one side of his head. He is probably the only one of Jesus' Apostles who lived a full life and died a natural death. In his day, leaders, princes, and officials visited him on Patmops to seek his godly advice.

These Wonderful Things

Jesus PraiseGod shows these beautiful things to "John of Patmos" in a spectacular and mysterious vision. John is not attempting to predict the future here, but to faithfully record and "obediently describe the wonders he is shown." We make a grave mistake if we try to construct a definitive calendar of future events from these chapters. On certain occasions, John is told not to write down what he saw. Only Christ himself will fill in the blanks when he comes!✞

Spectacular Vision

Radiant JesusStudents know John by many titles. He is sometimes known as John of Patmos, John the Evangelist, John the Divine, or by his common name, the Apostle John. In this study of the Book of Revelation, I use the name John of Patmos to refer to this person in Revelation for clarity. He is a prophet and visionary and bound by an oath in Revelation to write down only what he sees, nothing less. He is faithful in that task, even though he does not understand what he is seeing and describing, at least some of the time. We are shown the radiant Jesus in the Heavenly realms speaking to his church through graphic word pictures in all his glory. John of Patmos gives us a clue in Revelation as to why we are born and our eternal destiny!✞

Highly Accessible Style

Dr William BarclayThe Book of Revelation is unfortunately presented unfairly by many commentators as "sensational and incomprehensible." On the contrary, Revelation is a beautiful Biblical book. Roman customs and the ethos of the last part of the first century AD in which John of Patmos writes frame it. No expositor or commentator, in my estimation, contributes more to Revelation's study and understanding than Dr. William Barclay (1907-1978 AD). He was a distinguished Scottish author, radio and television presenter, Church of Scotland minister, and Professor of Divinity and Biblical Criticism at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He was enormously popular in his lifetime. He wrote and spoke to ordinary folk in his daily radio broadcasts about Revelation and other Bible books in simple terms to encourage and educate working men and women. I owe an outstanding debt of gratitude to the many scholarly works I have consulted over many years of study. Revelation has absorbed my energies as I have discovered more and more about it and its context. I started my ministry in 1970 as a young man at the Bible Training Institute on Bothwell Street in Glasgow, which is now the International Christian College. Dr. William Barclay had just concluded a distinguished ministry as a professor at Glasgow University and passed away in 1968. Though we never crossed paths physically, he left a deep spiritual impression on me from his writings. The Book of Revelation speaks to ordinary people. Dr. Barclay, more than anyone else, makes the Scriptures come alive. He draws on scholarship but also writes in a highly accessible style. I love the story, which I feel sure is true that when asked to read a lesson in the Presbyterian Church he attends regularly, he pulls out the Hebrew and Greek originals from his pocket and translates them "on the fly" as he reads. As expressed in his book, "The Mind of Christ," William Barclay's aim was "to make the figure of Jesus more vividly alive, so that we may know him better and love him more." I hope and pray that this little book on the great Revelation of John will also do just that for you!

For Ordinary Folk

Jesus in GloryRevelation may be a vision of splendor, but it is also written for ordinary folk, like you and me, to build us up and bless us. "Revelation Now." takes the same approach. I hope that like those early Christians, we might grow in the Christian Faith. We will also view Jesus of Nazareth in a new light as the "Eternal One in Glory." He may be our "Savior" now, but we will see him one day as our "Glorious Lord."✞

Live by Faith

Statue of Habakkuk, FlorenceHabakkuk, like John of Patmos, was a Biblical prophet and author of the Book of Habakkuk, the eighth of twelve collected minor prophets. Of the three chapters in his book, the first two are a dialog between God and the prophet. The central message from Habakkuk 2.4 is that "The just shall live by his faith." This concept comes to play an essential role in present-day Christian thought. The Habakkuk revelation comes to us from the collected minor prophets of three thousand years ago as a precursor to the Revelation prophetic apocalypse. Long before John of Patmos comes on the scene, the prophet Habakkuk speaks and writes of the "End Times" in the seventh century BC. In Habakkuk 2.2-3, the prophet writes, "Then the Lord answered me and said: 'Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but in the end, it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it because it will surely come, it will not tarry.'" Habakkuk's revelation brings us an amazing forecast of things that will happen in the future. The Lord himself is the speaker, and he tells Habakkuk to "Write down the revelation" to encourage his listeners in the distant future. Today, we have Habakkuk's words authenticated by John of Patmos. We can be sure of the story's completion, whether for Habakkuk's listeners from three or four thousand years ago, for other Christians or us perhaps a thousand years from now in the future. Though we do not know the date or time, it is a certainty for which we should and will no doubt wait. It will surely come, it will not tarry! The end may appear at any time!

"Revelation Prophet John"
by Ron Meacock © 2020

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