Revelation Prologue (Rev. 1:1 - 1:9)
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
Just like Daniel was called "greatly beloved" (Dan. 9:23, 10:11, 10:19), John is called the "disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 19:26, 21:20). John was chosen by God to be a prophet and record the words in the book of Revelation.
The very name "Revelation" indicates a book that is intended to be understood. It is a disclosing or revealing of Jesus ("Revelation of Jesus"). We can expect to understand more and more as we study and as history unfolds.
The method of getting the book of Revelation written down followed a path:
God the Father > Jesus > Angel > John
The book of Revelation was given to John in signs. It contains symbols.
Testimony of Jesus:
The book of Revelation is the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 1:2). Later in Revelation, the testimony of Jesus is plainly said to be the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10). Jesus is sharing what He has received from God about things that are to come. The angel and John are both prophets because they have received a prophetic message to share, the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 19:10, 22:9). The Remnant church is also described as having the testimony of Jesus (Rev. 12:17) because it too has received prophetic messages from Jesus to share.
3 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.
Those who read, understand and implement what they learn in Revelation receive a blessing. "7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book" (Rev. 22:7).
Faith is increased when a person sees prophecy being accurately fulfilled. It is also comforting and strengthening to know how it all works out in the end. Knowing what is to come helps God's people prepare for it.
4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
= The work of the Holy Spirit during 7 time periods.
= Place of authority. Thrones are referred to often in Revelation, including Jesus' throne, the saints' thrones and Satan's throne. A throne indicates power and authority to rule. The book revolves around a controversy between the rule of Jesus Christ and Satan, in which those who dwell on the earth are caught up.
The chiastic structure of Revelation also brings attention to this controversy. A chiasm is a literary device used in ancient writings to emphasize a point. This is accomplished through structuring a section of writing (or whole book) in the format A, B, C, C, B, A. There are variations to the format, such as A, B, B, A, A, B, B, A, but the symmetry of the structure remains. The center of the chiasm contains the focal point and all ideas lead up to it (examples in Matt. 6:24, Josh. 1:5b-9). In Revelation, the center of the chiasm is Revelation 12-14, which contains the story of the controversy between Christ and Satan and the battle for the loyalty of humanity.
||1:1 to 1:9
||Rev. 1:10 to 3:22
||4:1 to 8:1
||8:2 to 11:19
||Controversy (The cosmic conflict between Jesus and Satan
||12:1 to 12:17
||Controversy (The battle for the loyalty and worship of humanity)
||13 to 14:20
||Fall of Babylon
||15:1 to 19:21
||20:1 to 20:15
||21:1 to 22:21
||22:6 to 22:21
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
The Lord knows everything, past, present and future. He gives every being the freedom of choice. His foreknowledge of each person's choice does not mean He controls that choice. Only a divine being who transcends time and who created all things could accurately foretell future events. He is the ruler of all the universe ("Almighty").
9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
John was in captivity when He wrote the book of Revelation. Daniel also was a captive when he wrote the book of Daniel. They experienced many trials because of their work for God. They manifested patience through these tribulations through the power of Jesus.
The books of these two beloved prophets have many references that tie them together. They both follow the same pattern of parallelism, repeating the same story and enlarging on the details. For example, in Daniel 2, the four kingdoms are represented by substances within the image. Those same kingdoms are symbolized by beasts in Daniel 7.
Example of Parallelism in Daniel:
||Head of Gold
||Chest of Silver
||Thighs of Brass
||Legs of Iron
Daniel 8-9 and 10-12 also repeat the same time line, but reveal additional details. Daniel's prophecies reveal events from his day until the second coming of Jesus. Revelation's prophecies focus on the time period from John's day (Christ's ascension to heaven to begin His ministry) to the second coming of Jesus. John repeats this time period, with each prophecy using different symbols and enlarging the story. As an example, the 7 Churches parallel the 7 Seals.
Example of Parallelism in Revelation:
Continue to the 7 Churches (Rev. 1:10 - 3:22)
|The 7 Time Periods of Revelation
|34 to 217 AD
|217 to 486 ADD
|486 to 752 AD
|752 to 1299 AD
|1299 to 1449 AD
|1449 to 1840 AD
|1840 to Second Coming