Revelation's Ultimate Purpose
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5. Revelation's Ultimate Purpose
Revelation 1.1

"The revelation from 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 1.1)

Through Angels

Blue AngelIn the Old Testament in Exodus 19 and 20, Moses received the Law directly from the hands of God, however, twice in the New Testament, it is said that the Law was given by angels. In Acts 7.53 we read, "you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it." Again in Galatians 3.19b, "The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator." Revelation's ultimate purpose is given by God to John the Apostle or as he is sometimes called John of Patmos. Humans, like angels, play an important part in the revelation of Jesus Christ and in his coming which is the ultimate purpose of God. God must find a person to whom he can entrust his truth and whom he can use as his mouthpiece today.

Soon Take Place

Roman BannerRevelation is the "unveiling" of "that which must soon take place." History is not haphazard, it has a purpose. It is quite wrong to use the Book of Revelation as a kind of theological timetable of what is going to happen thousands of years from now or even next week. As John of Patmos saw it, the events it dealt with were working themselves out immediately. Revelation's purpose must be interpreted against the background of its own time which for John of Patmos was the second century Roman Empire culture.✞

Revelation's Apocalypse Lord

Finger of God

"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place." (Revelation 1.1a)

The message of the Biblical Book of Revelation is that Jesus, Revelation's Apocalypse Lord, is full of both love and justice. The Revelation apocalyptic vision of John of Patmos is in many respects fantastic and indescribable, therefore John presents them in terms and picture language that people of his day could understand. "Apocalypse" means "unveiling" or "disclosing" and the future Jesus is therefore unveiled. We see him not as the preacher of Galilee or even as the Savior on the Cross but as the Lord of the Universe, the great "I am." When imagining these scenes in our minds, we don't have to understand every detail, we only need to allow the Revelation word pictures of the Apocalypse Lord to flow over us. Everything points us to Christ in Revelation. He was and is the glorious, victorious Lord of all and is seen as full of both love and justice.

Love and Justice

Jesus FaceThe message of "Revelation" is of Jesus' tremendous love, power, and justice. At the appointed time, the risen and ascended Lord will burst on to the world stage. Everyone will then know that he is the Lord of the Universe! Those who love him will greet him with songs of praise. Those who don't would rather not be there!

Unseen Spiritual Realm

"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place." (Revelation 1.1a)

Revelation's apocalypse vision was transmitted to the Apostle John as a book about Jesus Christ from the unseen spiritual realm. An apocalypse is a technical name given to a particular type of literature, popular in the Apostle John's day and also interestingly enough in our own time like Margaret Atwood's "Oryx and Crake." Many apocalyptic books were circulating at the time Revelation was written such as "the Apocalypse of Baruch." Other apocalypse books were attributed to famous people like the "Gospel of Abraham," "the Gospel of Daniel," the "Gospel of Elijah" even the "Apocalypse of Peter," and the "Apocalypse of Thomas." All of these were rejected by Christian leaders and not included in the Biblical Canon.

Questionable

It was quite clear to the Apostolic Fathers as it is to us today that these were not of the same quality or authenticity as the Biblical books. On the few occasions when an apocalyptic book is read in a service today, it is often to substantiate a questionable theological point. The inspired Word of God has unquestionably the special mark of authenticity which the secondary readings do not have. Genuine apocalyptic literature unveiled details of the unseen spiritual realm and its impact on history. Today, the term apocalyptic literature is often used to refer to the end of the world, which may be a shortening of the Greek phrase "apokalupsis eschaton" which translated as "revelation at the end of the age."

Unveiling God's Will

HorsemenRevelation's apocalypse vision was the unveiling of God's will for us. Saint Paul also used this phrase differently and explained that he traveled to Jerusalem by "apokalupsis." That is, he went because God revealed to him that he wanted him to go there. Saint Paul in a similar manner received his gospel not from human lips according to Galatians 1.11-12 where he wrote, "I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ." Saint Paul received the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by "apocalypse revelation."

The Preacher's Message

Apostle JohnThe message of the preacher today is also an "apocalypse" in one sense. God revealed to human beings his mysteries, especially the incarnation of Jesus Christ. "Apokalupsis" was especially used in "The revelation of Jesus Christ" of the power and the holiness of God which was to come in these last days. For some, that will mean judgment and justice, but for Christians, it will be an unveiling of praise and glory, grace and joy.✞

"Revelation's Ultimate Purpose"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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