The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Revelation One

In the first words of Revelation we find a general introduction to the entire message. The book begins, "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." (Revelation 1:1) The message was signified or given with signs through an angel to John. Through the years, the church has received great comfort through the glorious prophecy of this book.


The announcement of the Revelation of Jesus Christ came with a blessing for those that read, hear and keep those things that were written. Urgency is seen in the phrase "the time is at hand." A study of the books of Ezekiel and Daniel will help prepare the Bible student for studying the book of Revelation.


The Revelation as a whole book and specifically the early chapters were written to the seven churches in Asia. John was personally involved with these brethren in the seven churches. He said, "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." (Revelation 1:9) In his greeting, John wished for them, "Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come." (Revelation 1:4)


Revelation is a book with some predictions of future events, but more than that it is a book designed to provide encouragement and hope for the people of God. The expectation of our present life and our eternal life is built upon Jesus. It is a glorious hope because of His character and power.


A Revelation from God Revelation 1:1-3: The word translated "Revelation" is similar to our word "apocalypse." The word means "a revealing," or "an unveiling." It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ because it is from Him and it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ because it is about Him. The person revealed in the Revelation is none other than Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation shows us Jesus in His power and majesty. We may not be able to understand every sign in this great book, but we can understand the Christ revealed therein. He is not merely some figment of the imagination or a person of the past. He is the one that is, and that was, and that is to come.


The Revelation was made to God's servant to show him things that would shortly come to pass. The object of the book was to record a revelation about these important events. The time was at hand or near for the fulfillment of these things at the time of the writing of the book.


John said, "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." (Revelation 1:3) He said, "Blessed is he that readeth." It is a blessing to be permitted to read the Revelation of God. This may be a reference to public reading because the next statement has to do with those "that hear the words of this prophecy." We learn God's will by reading, hearing, studying and meditation. Those who have the opportunity to become acquainted with God's revelation are highly favored. The readers and hearers must also "keep those things which are written therein." None can be right with God who does not obey those things that are their duty. The psalmist said of God's commandments, "Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward." (Psalm 19:11) Our heavenly hope is in knowing and doing the will of God.


A Revelation of love and blood -- Revelation 1:4-8: The book of Revelation was written to the seven churches of Asia. There were other churches in that general area including Troas, Colosse and Hierapolis. However, John only addressed his book to seven of the churches. The seven possible stands as representative of all the churches or it may be just the fact that seven is that perfect number. What would God say if He wrote a letter to the Walnut Street Church of Christ?


Revelation begins with the formal greeting used in many New Testament books. The greeting is that of grace and peace. (Revelation 1:4) John identifies Jesus as being from everlasting. Jesus existed in the past. He exists in the present. He will exist in the future. The most profound part of the book of Revelation has to do with the fact that this eternal one "loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood." (Revelation 1:5) If we understand our own deep sinfulness, this seems almost too good to be true.


A Revelation to the seven churches Revelation 1:9-11: On a certain Lord's day, from the Isle of Patmos, John was commanded to write this to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea." These were not seven kinds of churches, but the church of Christ in seven locations. Interestingly, Paul also wrote to seven churches: Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Colosse, Philippi, and Thessalonica. As you read this book observe all the times John is commanded to write these things that he sees.


In this book John provided many word pictures of Jesus, possibly none more vivid than when he called Him "Alpha and Omega, the first and the last." Jesus clearly claimed to be God and to have all the attributes of the Almighty.


A Revelation of Jesus Christ Revelation 1:12-20: What a blessing this must have been to John to see Jesus again. Jesus is pictured as standing in His magnificence in the midst of these seven churches. He was "clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band." The picture of Jesus was that of purity and wisdom. When we see "His eyes like a flame of fire" we are aware of the judgment of God.


Everything in this vision speaks of the strength, majesty, authority and righteousness of Jesus Christ, the Savior. John was overwhelmed by this stunning vision and he fell at the feet of Jesus as a dead man. Jesus helped John to understand by telling him that the seven stars are the angels or messengers of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands are the seven churches. The chapter closed by John again being told to write these things in a book.


Jesus' greatness, power, might and sacrifice should move us to obey Him. The precious blood of Jesus cleanses those who obey the gospel. To obey the gospel one must hear the salvation message (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Jesus as Lord and Christ (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) Have you obeyed the Almighty? Obey now because tomorrow might be too late!


By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA