revelation

Introduction to Revelation

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God [the Father] gave unto Him [Jesus Christ], to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He [Jesus Christ] sent and signified it by His angel [Gabriel] unto His servant John.” Revelation 1:1


“The Revelation of Jesus Christ” is not a sealed book that is impossible for us to understand. It is just the opposite. It is the “revelation,” or “unveiling,” “manifestation,” or “uncovering” of Jesus Christ. 


This is a revelation from God the Father. It is a revelation about Jesus. It is a revelation concerning the apocalypse of Jesus Christ. 


The Greek word for “revelation” is apocalypse. Notice how it is often used in reference to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in the following passages:


“So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming [the apocalypse] of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:7. 


“And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed[apocalypse] from heaven with His mighty angels.” 2 Thessalonians 1:7. 


“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing [apocalypse] of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:7. 

 

The last book of the Bible is centered around the apocalypse or Second Coming of Christ. The seven churches, seven seals, and seven trumpets begin with the early church but move us towards the Second Coming. The seven last plagues certainly lead us to the Second Coming. Chapter nineteen and other portions of the Revelation are specifically about the Second Coming. Chapters 20–22 describe events after the Second Coming. It is an inspired book that permeates with the message, “Get ready for the soon return of Christ.” 


That this book is a revelation from God the Father is made evident from the opening verse. God the Father gave this revelation to His Son, Jesus Christ, who “signified it by His angel [Gabriel] unto His servant John [the apostle]. 


The book of Revelation is another example of how the Father communicates to us through His Son, Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote, 


“[God the Father] hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He [the Father] made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His [the Father’s] person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He [Jesus] had by Himself purged our sin, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Hebrews 1:2, 3

Everything we know about the Father has been revealed in the life and teachings of His Son. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” John 1:18


“In all these revelations of the divine presence, the glory of God was manifested through Christ. Not alone at the Savior’s advent, but through all the ages after the fall and the promise of redemption, ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.’ 2 Corinthians 5:19. Christ was the foundation and center of the sacrificial system in both the patriarchal and the Jewish age. Since the sin of our first parents, there has been no direct communication between God and man. The Father has given the world into the hands of Christ, that through His meditorial work, He may redeem man, and vindicate the authority and holiness of the law of God. All the communion between heaven and the fallen race has been through Christ. It was the Son of God that gave our first parents the promise of redemption. It was He who revealed Himself to the patriarchs. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses understood the gospel. They looked for salvation through man’s Substitute and Surety. These holy men of old held communion with the Savior who was to come to our world in human flesh; and some of them talked with Christ and heavenly angels face to face.” Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 366


How important is this revelation of the Father through the Son?

“But the plan of salvation had a yet broader and deeper purpose than the salvation of man. It was not for this alone that Christ came to the earth; it was not merely that the inhabitants of this little world might regard the law of God as it should be regarded; but it was to vindicate the character of God before the universe. To this result of His great sacrifice—its influence upon the intelligence's of other worlds, as well as upon man—the Savior looked forward when just before His crucifixion He said: ‘Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto Me.’ John 12:31, 32. The act of Christ in dying for the salvation of man would not only make heaven accessible to men, but before all the universe it would justify God and His Son in their dealing with the rebellion of Satan. It would establish the perpetuity of the law of God and would reveal the nature and the results of sin.” Ibid., page 68 [Emphasis supplied]


Lucifer had misrepresented the true nature of God before angels and unfallen worlds. While it is true that Christ came to (1) die for our sins, (2) to show that man can keep the law of God, and (3) unmask the tragic results and nature of sin caused by Lucifer’s rebellion against God and His government. The main purpose of Christ’s incarnation was to vindicate the name of His Father. Again we ask, “Why is it important for us to know the Father through the Son?”


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16, 17


The gospel of Christ is the power of God. This power is revealed in the manifestation of the “righteousness of God” the Father. As the just live by faith, and grow in faith, they reveal more and more the righteousness of God the Father. This is all accomplished through our connection to Christ by the work of the Holy Spirit. 


What is eternal life?

“And this is life eternal, that they might know they the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3


Eternal life is to know God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. It was because of the Fathers love for us, that He sent His only Son to die for us.


“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16


We are able to have fellowship with this loving Father and Son.


“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life: (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:1-3


The disciples carefully studied the life of Jesus. In fact, they could not take their eyes off of Him. Why? Because Jesus manifested “the life.” Which life? That eternal life “which was with the Father.”


In our flesh and blood, Jesus manifested what eternal life is all about. He showed us the Father. And now John encourages us to have fellowship with one another, by having fellowship with the Father and the Son. 


What does it mean to have “fellowship” with God?

The word for “fellowship” is the Greek word koinonia. This word depicts two distinct personalities sharing something in common. Therefore, for us to have fellowship with the Father and the Son, we must share something in common with Them. While we will never possess omnipotence, omniscience, or omnipresence, we are to receive the altogether beautiful character of God. After all, we were created in the image of God, that we may reflect His thoughts and feelings. Therefore, day by day, we may become a progressive revelation of God’s altogether beautiful character by being in fellowship with Him. By receiving the righteousness of Christ, we become more like the Father and the Son in character. This is the work of the gospel. This is the power of the everlasting gospel. 


Therefore, in this opening verse, we see the Father reaching out to us with this beautiful revelation of His Son. The Father makes it clear that He cares and is involved in the affairs of this world. For example, the messages to the seven churches, are as well, messages that began with the Father. In fact, all the messages contained in the Revelation came originally from the Father. 


Therefore, when we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus, we are praying to our heavenly Father who knows all things, who is absolute love, and who has prepared for each trying circumstance. We are the apple of His eye. He will take care of us. 


Revelation about Jesus 

This is a revelation about Jesus. While the gospels are about Christ’s earthly ministry, the Revelation is primarily about (1) His work since His ascension into heaven, and (2) His Second Coming. For example, we find Jesus as our High Priest in the heavenly sanctuary, walking “in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.” Revelation 2:1. We also see Jesus returning the second time as King of kings and Lord of lords, riding upon “a white horse,” with “the armies which were in heaven.” At His Second Coming the enemies of God’s kingdom are defeated. Revelation 19:11, 14, 21.


This Revelation of Jesus Christ prepares us to be with God 

By pointing to Jesus, the Father is preparing us to live in His presence. Consider the following passages:

“And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Revelation 21:3


God the Father will live with the redeemed. This is the purpose of the Revelation. It is to prepare us to live with God. 


“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. . . And they [the servants of God] shall see His [Father’s] face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” Revelation 22:4


What is the blessing for reading and keeping the words of this prophecy? We shall see the face of God and live with God. In preparing us for this greatest of all privileges, God will reveal many things to us in the Revelation. We shall see the beauty of Jesus. We will view the path traveled by the servants of God. And we behold the path of those that fail to entire the eternal city. 


If we cooperate with heavenly agencies as we read, hear, and keep the things written in the Revelation of Jesus Christ, then we will have an entirely new and deeper spiritual experience. In fact, we will learn to have fellowship with the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Dear reader, may the Lord bless you as you prepare for the apocalypse of Jesus Christ, by receiving the Revelation of Jesus Christ. 


Dr. Jeff Wehr