Wednesday, June 30, 2021

8. The Revelation: Its Supernatural Delivery, Its Human Author, Its Promised Blessing, Its Compelling Urgency

We continue our look at the central characteristics of The Revelation. Revelation 1:1–6 provide eleven specific characteristics that reveal the uniqueness of Revelation. We continue today at characteristics 6-9:

6. Its Supernatural Delivery

"...and He sent and communicated it by His angel" (Rev. 1:1f)

Revelation is unique in the New Testament because it is the only book sent and communicated by angels. As Jesus declared, “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches” (22:16). Angels were involved in the giving of the book of Revelation to John, just as they were in the giving of the Law to Moses (Acts 7:53; Galatians 3:19; Hebrew 2:2). Not only were angels involved in transmitting the book of Revelation to John, but they also play a prominent role in the scenes it portrays. Angels appear in every chapter of Revelation except 4 and 13. The words “angel” or “angels” are used seventy-one times in the book of Revelation—more than in any other book in the Bible. In fact, one out of every four uses in Scripture of those words is in the book of Revelation. This book thus serves as an important source of information on the ministry of angels.

7. Its Human Author

" His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw." (Rev. 1:1g–2)

The human agent to whom the angelic messengers communicated the book of Revelation is here identified as “His bond-servant John.” This was John the apostle, the son of Zebedee and brother of James. John wrote the book of Revelation while in exile on the island of Patmos (1:9).

The enormity of the visions John received on that barren island staggered him. Throughout his gospel, John never directly referred to himself. Yet here he bookends his vision with the statement, “I, John” (Rev. 1:9; Rev. 22:8)—an exclamation that expressed his amazement that he was receiving such overwhelming visions.

As he had loyally testified to the first coming of Christ (John 19:35; 21:24; 1 John 1:2; 4:14), so John faithfully proclaimed all that he saw concerning His second coming. The word of God expressed in the book of Revelation is the testimony about the coming glory of Christ given to His church and recorded by His faithful witness, John.

8. Its Promised Blessing

"...Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it..." (Rev. 1:3a)

The book of Revelation begins and ends with promises of blessing to those who read and obey it. In total, the book contains seven promises of blessing which we will cover tomorrow.

Reading, hearing, and obeying the truths taught in the book of Revelation are to be a way of life for believers. Revelation is God’s final word to man, marking the completion of the canon of Scripture (Rev. 22:18–19), and its scope encompasses the entire future of redemptive history (1:19). It is imperative that believers follow the truths it contains.

9. Its Compelling Urgency

"...for the time is near." (1:3b)

This phrase restates the truth taught in verse one. The Greek word for time here does not refer to time on a clock or calendar, but to seasons or eras. The next great era of God’s redemptive history is near. The imminent return of Christ has always been the church’s hope. Jesus commanded His followers to watch expectantly for His return (Luke 12:35–40). The apostles Paul, Peter, James, and John all wrote that the day of His return is near. (See, for example, Romans 13:12; 1 Peter 4:7; James 5:7–9; 1 John 2:18.)