Background of book
Prologue - Revelation 1:1 – 3
Vs. 1: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” – The Greek word for Revelation is “apocalypse” that means unveiling, more specifically unveiling of something that was once hidden. This means that this is a revelation mediated to John by Jesus as the Father revealed it to Him, rather than a revelation about Jesus himself.
“the things that must soon take place.” – History is not a random sequence of unrelated events, but a divinely orchestrated of events that must come to pass. Now, many have a issue with the word, “shortly” or “soon to take place”. According to theologian Robert Mounce, “One solution is to understand ‘shortly’ in the sense of suddenly, or without delay once the appointed time comes.” (Mounce p. 65). However, some also believe that John is speaking of the persecution of the church that did, in fact, take place shortly. And some hold to taking the word in a straightforward sense. This means that in the prophetic view of the word, the end is always impending or imminent.
Vs 3: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud…” A blessing is pronounced on those who read this letter. Not only to those who read it, but those who read it aloud. Reading scripture aloud publicly was a Jewish practice. At first, someone from the congregation was chosen to read and this person probably had proficiency in the art of reading. The ability to read well was not something that was a common trait. Actually, the position of Scripture reader became an official office in the early church.
“the words of this prophecy…” We also see John sees this work as prophetic literature that on par with the OT prophetic books thus possessing an authority which with required the obedient response of all believers.
“Blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it…” Not only are those blessed who read it, but also to those who both hear (by faith) and keep (obedience) to all that is written in the letter.
As we enter this study, it is important to know and understand that the blessing continues to us today. We are blessed in reading the words of Revelation. We are also blessed when we take seriously and heed the words of Jesus. My hope and prayer for us during this time together is that we would not only gain a better understanding and knowledge of Revelation, but that we would also gain a better understanding of Jesus and His Kingdom that would forever change and transform us into the people that God has called us to be.
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I currently live on the Gulf Coast of Florida with my beautiful family. The Lord has blessed me with over 25 years of full time ministry. He is and has been faithful.