Author: Ron Graham
Don't Skip Over the Title
—An Overview from Revelation 1:1
The Revelation of Christ (Revelation 1-5) >The Prologue >The Introduction >The title
Before we advance in our studies in the book of Revelation, we are going to step back to its very first words. These first words of Revelation may be the most ignored words of the entire book.
Most of us want to get straight into deciphering the number 666, or trying to work out the meaning of the 1000 years. But this would miss the point and purpose of the book. It is "the revelation of Jesus Christ". That's the first and foremost thing to consider.
We can think of the first words of the book of Revelation as its title, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ". There are three senses in which we can understand this title. We don't have to choose between these meanings. All three meanings are valid and harmonious together.
1 The Revelation from Jesus Christ
Firstly, the book is "the revelation of Jesus Christ" in the sense that God gave its message to Jesus Christ, and it came from Jesus Christ as its true author.
In the first chapter of his book, John states exactly how the book came into being. God gave a revelation to Jesus Christ. Christ sent it by an angel to John, was shown the revelation in visions. In the Spirit, John wrote down an eye-witness and divinely inspired account of what he saw, and sent it to seven churches (Revelation 1:1-2, 9-11). That is a plain, straight-forward account of the book’s origin
- (1) God to Christ,
- (2) Christ to the angel,
- (3) the angel to John,
- (4) John (a prophet inspired by the Holy Spirit) to the churches.
We will go into more detail about that matter under the heading "What Were John’s Sources?"
2 The Revelation of who Jesus is.
Secondly, the book is the revelation of Jesus Christ in the sense that it is a testimony to who and what Jesus is.
For example in the first chapter John makes seven declarations about Jesus which may be safely regarded as truths that are represented in the visions (Revelation 1:5-7).
- (1) He is the Faithful Witness
- (2) He is the firstborn from the dead
- (3) He is the Ruler of kings
- (4) He loved us
- (5) He made us to be a kingdom of priests
- (6) He has glory and dominion forever
- (7) He is coming with clouds
These declarations are followed by a confirmation from the Lord himself: "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8).
We will consider these matters in more detail under the heading, "John's Seven Declarations" and "Alpha and Omega —Jesus is God".
3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ in the Future
Thirdly, the book is "the revelation of Jesus Christ" in the sense that it promises and portrays as its climax, the revelation of Jesus in the sky at his second coming. The book of Revelation directs one's mind to a greater revelation of Jesus Christ in the future. "Every eye will see him, even those who pierced him" (Revelation 1:7).
time is near In the time frame of the visions, what they portray "will shortly take place... for the time is near" (Revelation 1:1,3). We will discuss this shortness of time and nearness of Christ's coming at quite some length and detail as we study the book of Revelation.
Instead of reading a book of visions, one will experience his real presence as he comes, in the sky, with his mighty angels. All people of all nations, both the living and the dead, will stand before him to be judged on that day. Rather than reading what John saw, as one does now, one will then see with one's own eyes. And you will be there.