Jesus' Revelation Words
Next Previous Index Tellout Home

4. Jesus' Revelation Words
Revelation 1.1a

"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." (Revelation 1.1a)✞

What is a revelation?

Wooden Roof BossThe Bible's last book is sometimes called the "Revelation of Jesus Christ" or the "Apocalypse." It is Jesus' Revelation words and not John's words in an ordinary book authored by an average person. Here Jesus is dictating, sometimes through his angel servants, what to write. The term "servant" in this verse is from the Greek "doulos," meaning "slave." John is a Roman prisoner on Patmos Isle, but he is, more importantly, Jesus Christ's servant. Sometimes John and his scribe Saint Prochorus are told not to write down something he sees but to leave it hidden. Some of Revelation must remain concealed to us for the time being for reasons known only to God.

The Name Revelation

Unveiling ScripturesThe opening phrase is "the revelation of Jesus Christ." Jesus' words are the first phrases of the Revelation scroll's first page, giving the "Book of Revelation" its name. In the same way, "Genesis" in the Old Testament is named for its scroll's opening Hebrew word "Bereshit," meaning "In the beginning." The Greek equivalent to "Genesis" comes from the words "generations of heaven and earth" or "origin." The Book of Revelation is not "about Jesus Christ" but "of Jesus Christ" or, alternately, "from Jesus Christ." Jesus' own words came to John of Patmos from an angel at this time, but like all scripture applies equally to us today.✞

Revelation's Unveiling

VeilJesus himself speaks through an angel to John of Patmos, and he passes them on to us. The Bible scholar Dr. William Barclay (1907-1978), in his "Daily Study Bible," explains that the Greek word for "Revelation" is "Apokalupsis." This word comprises two parts, "apo," meaning "away from" and "kalupsis," meaning "a veiling." "Revelation" therefore means "away from a veiling." It is "an unveiling" of God's truth given by Jesus Christ to John of Patmos through an angel. The Jews included many books in their Canon called "Apocalypses," which were visions of the end times and the blessedness to come. These Revelations intended to show God's servants what will soon take place. "The Book of Revelation" belongs to this literature class and has Old Testament parallels in Ezekiel, Habakkuk, and Daniel. Revelation is a development of these books in that it focuses upon Jesus' Revelation words. The word "Revelation" is not itself originally religious, for, in the Second Century AD, it meant "disclosing a fact," "uncovering secrets," or even "dream interpretation."

The Holy Spirit's Work

Holy SpiritThe "Book of Revelation" has been closely connected with the Holy Spirit's work from the earliest times. The Holy Spirit shows us what will soon occur and conveys insight as we read this document, and illuminates no other Bible book in the same way. He brings us understanding and insight into Christian life today. Revelation is what God reveals to all who want to understand.

The Jewish Diaspora

ScrollJewish people's hope in the "end times" is for God's direct intervention in history, which they call the "eschaton." The word "eschatology" comes from this root and means "last days' study." For Jews, God gathers scattered Israeli peoples, the "diaspora," from around the world back to Israel for the Messiah's coming and a glorious afterlife. Jews also believe in the return of the "Tsadikim," who are thirty-six righteous persons in each generation who welcome the Messiah's divine presence.

Jewish Calendar

To the Jew, two ages divide all time. The first age begins with the Creation and ends with the Jerusalem Temple's destruction in 70 AD. In the Jewish calendar, "BC," meaning "before Christ," is referred to as "BCE" or "before the common era." In the Christian, Julian, and Gregorian calendars, which are widely used today except by Jews, "AD" or "anno domini" means in Medieval Latin "In the Year of the Lord." Jews transcribe this as "CE," or "the common era." In Jewish terms, the year 2021 AD coincides with 5781 CE and lasts until September 21st, 2021, when 5782 CE in the Jewish calendar begins. The Jewish calendar continues to count in years from before the year before the Biblical Creation to the 70 AD Jerusalem Temple's fall. The Jewish year 5782 CE is the number of years since Creation's first day to the present.

The End Times

The Jews anticipate that "God's age to come" will follow the present evil age. Between the two end times, there will be a trial. Many Christians understand from the Scriptures that this will last seven years before Christ's final victory. As you read of these end times, allow their vivid word pictures to flow over you. Try to open up yourself to the Holy Spirit to help you understand what must soon take place.

Describing The Indescribable

Alpha and Omega WindowMany apocalyptic books seem to be wild and incomprehensible, for they try to describe the indescribable. The very subject with which Revelation deals is why it is sometimes so hard to understand. Jesus' Revelation words begin with God, the fountain of all truth. Every discovered truth, whether scientific, medical or otherwise, is God's gift. People do not create truthfulness. They receive it from God. This reception comes from diligently seeking and reverently waiting for it.

Speaking Through Thoughts and Emotions

Garden FountainJesus' Revelation words describe what will occur in the near and distant future in the heavenly realm. God creates humans with thinking minds and caring hearts and speaks to us through our minds and emotions. He does not usually convey the truth to someone too lazy to think. God sends his truth to the one who waits in prayerful devotion for Jesus' revelation words. Devotional prayer and faith mean active, dedicated listening for God's voice in the Scriptures.

Whose teaching does Jesus give?

Jesus in GloryGod gives us this "Revelation teaching" directly through Jesus Christ. The Bible stresses Jesus' utter dependence on his Heavenly Father. "My teaching," says Jesus in John 7.16, "is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me." Again in John 8.28b, Jesus says, "I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me." John 12.49 elaborates on this mutual reliance between the Heavenly Father and his Son, "For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." Truth brings Jesus' words to human beings, and that is why it is unique and final.✞

"Jesus' Revelation Words"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

^Top Page Next Previous