Revelation 1:1-2

Revelation, or more properly apocalypse is the first word in the book. It is used in this book only in this place. Notice that God gave to Jesus and He in turn gives it to the angel who gives it to John. Only at the end of the verse do we find John’s name. It might seem unusual for the author to be writing in the third person. We expect it to be a first person (John’s document) document. But John carefully avoids any misunderstanding that may result from having the the source and content attributed to him. By 1:9, John switches to the first person so as to identify with his fellow Christians who are suffering.

Given the focus of content on Jesus Christ, the title of the writing could very well be “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” or “The Revelation of God.” The former makes sense because Jesus is front and center as to content and the delivery person from the Father. The latter makes sense because the Father is the ultimate source and revealer, who then reveals to His Son, Jesus Christ [see Matthew 11:25]. Jesus is then the medium through whom the father passes it to the Angel and then to humans. That the Son receives what He is and has from the Father is the constant teaching in the Gospel which John wrote: John 3:35; 5:20ff.; 5:26; 7:16; 8:28; 12:49; 16:15; 17:2ff. Jesus is the Revealer of this as He is enthroned in heaven, but He causes it to be realized in history [see 1 Cor. 15:26].

Next there is the angel whom Jesus commissions to guide John and to exhibit to him by means of visions the elements which are to be revealed. This angelic guide shows John a vision of heave, then earth, then the wilderness, then the new heaven and the new earth. The servant, John, is next in line to receive the revelation. The phrase “he bore witness” is typical in John’s Gospel and his three letters [John 1:15, 29-34; 21:24; 1 John 1:1-4; 5:10-12].

In 1:2 the phrase: “the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” occurs in several significant places [1:9; 6:9; 20:4]. The revelation comes by means of a vision “he saw” — consistent with Old Testament prophetic visions. What better source than to have an eyewitness of the end write down the things which he had seen. John is seeing more than the end of the world—he is seeing the victory of the Lamb and His triumphant return. Throughout Revelation there are two phrases that emphasize the testimony/witness of Jesus to John: “I heard” (28 times) and “I saw” (49 times).

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