Jesus' Revelation Words
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4. Jesus' Revelation Words
Revelation 1.1

"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)✞

Unveiling

Wooden Roof BossThis last book in the Bible is sometimes called the "Revelation of Jesus Christ" or the "Apocalypse." It is Jesus' Revelation words and not John's words as in an ordinary book authored by an average person. Here Jesus is dictating, sometimes through his angel servants, what to write. Sometimes John is told not to write down something he sees but to keep it hidden. The Book of Revelation is an "unveiling or disclosure" of God's word, but some of it, for some reason, must remain unknown to us behind the veil.

Given By Jesus

Unveiling ScripturesThe opening phrase is "The revelation of Jesus Christ." These Jesus' revelation words are the first phrases of the first page of the Revelation scroll, thus giving the "Book of Revelation" its name. In the same way, "Genesis" in Genesis 1.1. is named for the opening words of its scroll from the Latin Vulgate. The Greek equivalent is "Origin" or "Beginning" as in "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." The Book of Revelation is not "the revelation about Jesus Christ" but "the revelation of Jesus Christ" or alternately "the revelation from Jesus Christ" or "Jesus' revelation words." Jesus' own words come to John of Patmos from an angel at this time but apply equally to us also today as do the words of all Scripture.✞

Unveiling

VeilJesus himself gives his words through an angel to John of Patmos, and John passes them on to us. The eminent Bible scholar Dr. William Barclay (1907-1978), in his "Daily Study Bible," explains that the Greek word for "Revelation" is "Apokalupsis." This Greek word comprises two other words, "apo," meaning "away from" and "kalupsis," meaning "a veiling.""Revelation" therefore means "away from a veiling" or an "an unveiling or a revealing." Revelation is "an unveiling" of truth about God given by Jesus Christ to John of Patmos through an angel. We note that the word "Revelation" itself was not originally religious for in the Second Century AD it meant simply "a disclosure" of any fact, "the uncovering of secrets," or even "the interpretation of dreams."

Holy Spirit's Work

Holy SpiritThe Holy Spirit Revelation shows us what must soon take place. The Holy Spirit brings insight as we read this document dictated by God's angel to John. From the earliest times, the "Book of Revelation" has been closely connected with the Holy Spirit's work. There is no other part of the Bible that is so lit up by God's Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit brings us understanding and insight into the Christian life today. Revelation is what God is revealing to all who desire to understand.

Jewish Diaspora

ScrollThe Jewish 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 "study of the last days." For Jews, eschatology gathers scattered Israeli peoples, the "diaspora," from around the world to Israel and the coming of the Messiah and an afterlife in glory. Jews also believe in the return of the "Tsadikim" who are thirty-six righteous persons in each generation who welcome the divine presence of the Messiah.

Two Ages

To the Jew, two ages divide all time. The first age begins with the Creation and ends with the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. According to 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," meaning "the common era." In Jewish terms, the year 2020 AD coincides with the year 5780 CE and lasts until September 21st, 2020, when 5781 CE in the Jewish calendar begins. The Jewish calendar continues to count in years from the beginning of the Biblical Creation and the fall of the Temple in 70 AD. The Jewish year 5781 is the number of years since the first day of the Creation to the present.

Age to Come

The Jews anticipate that the present evil age is to be followed by the "Age of God to Come." Between the two end times, there is a time of terrible trial. Many Christians understand from the Scriptures that this will last seven years before the final victory of Christ. As you read of these end times, allow the vivid word pictures in them to flow over you. Try to open up yourself to the Holy Spirit to help you understand what must soon take place. The Jews include many books in their Canon called "Apocalypses," which are visions of the dreadful end times and the blessedness to come. These Revelations intend to show God's servants what will soon take place. "The Book of Revelation" belongs to this literature class and has parallels in the Old Testament in Ezekiel, Habakkuk and Daniel. The Revelation is a development of these books in that it focuses upon Jesus' Revelation words.

Describe 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 the reason why it is sometimes so hard to understand. Jesus' Revelation words begin with God, the fountain of all truth. Every truth, which human beings discover, whether scientific, medical or otherwise, is a gift from God. People do not create the truth; they receive it from God. This reception comes from diligently seeking and from reverently waiting for it.

Active Dedicated Listening

Garden FountainJesus' Revelation words describe what will occur in the near and distant future in the heavenly realms. God creates humans with minds to think and hearts to care. It is often through our minds that God speaks to us. Indeed, God does not usually grant his truth to the person who is too lazy to think. God sends his truth to the person who not only thinks strenuously but waits quietly in prayerful devotion for Jesus' revelation words. Prayer and devotion mean active, dedicated listening for the voice of God in the Scriptures.

Soon Take Place

Jesus in GloryGod gives us this "Revelation Teaching" directly through Jesus Christ. The Bible stresses Jesus' utter dependence on God, his Father. "My teaching," says Jesus in John 7.16, "is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me." Jesus refers here to the Heavenly Father. 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 relationship of mutual reliance between the Heavenly Father and the 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' Revelation words to human beings, and that is precisely why it is unique and final.

"Jesus' Revelation Words"
by Ron Meacock © 2020

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