The Source of the Revelation, Revelation Chapter 1, Verses 1-3 (NASB)

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     The REVELATION of Jesus Christ

To reveal something is to bring to our knowledge that which was hidden. We have been given the accounts of Jesus in His human form in the gospels. Now the apostle John is shown by visions the eternal form of Jesus Christ. It is a picture, in the broadest sense, of a Bride (the body of true believers) and Her Bridegroom (Jesus Christ). The first five chapters of Revelation are about the Bride. The middle section is about the Bridegroom preparing for the Marriage to the Bride. And they live happily ever after from Revelation 19 on.

Visions of spiritual nature are not new. One example in the Old Testament was of the dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and interpreted by Beltashazzar (Daniel) - Daniel 2:27-30 . The visions given to John are either left to us to interpret (from other symbols in the Bible) or are explained directly by an angel.

     which God gave Him

In these four words, we are shown how God will be represented during these visions. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus also contains all of God (Colossians 2:8-9-15). Yet here in the Revelation, Jesus is shown to be a separate person apart from God, the Father. The visions are passed from Father to Son.

     to show to His BOND-SERVANTS,

Now Jesus doesn't keep the visions to Himself. He shares them with His servants. A bond servant was one, who after serving a master as slave to repay some indebtedness, could opt to remain as a servant to that master for the rest of his life. When that was agreed to by the master, a hole was pierced into the ear to indicate such a BOND- SERVANT status. This is described in Deuteronomy 15:12-18 . In the same manner, when we totally commit our lives to Christ, we become BOND-SERVANTS of His. Even more beautifully, Jesus Christ agrees to care for us for our ETERNAL life.

     the things which must shortly take place;

Time is a relative entity. Anything in the future, since we can't see into the future, is "shortly" or imminent. Depending upon your interpretation of this phrase, "shortly" may have meant 'in John's day'; it may have meant 'from the writing of Revelation until now'; or it may mean 'from the writing and on forever'. Since much that is discussed in this book does not appear to have happened yet, most of the "shortly" remains to occur.

     and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His BOND-SERVANT John,

Angels are right in the middle of this revelation process. They play an important role (over 60 times they are mentioned in Revelation alone), in explaining and carrying out the events to occur. To have a heavenly messenger to give the visions is known to occur before - Daniel 10:10-14, 20-21 .
     So the Revelation of Jesus Christ comes to us like this:

       GOD
         |->Jesus
              |->angel  (see also Revelation 22:16)
                   |->John, a Bond Servant
                        |->all Bond Servants
(those who have accepted Christ)

     who bore witness

       a) to the WORD of GOD and

This phrase is used so often...he is emphasizing that the book of Revelation is part of the Word of God. The "Word of God" even carries a prophetic tinge to it. Samuel, a prophet, told Saul to send his servant on ahead so that he might dish out the Word of God directly to him, Saul - 1 Samuel 9:27. In the same vein, John, too, stands us up alone (Revelation 19:10) and says, "Here comes the Word of God." This is serious stuff .....because in the next verse, we are to "heed" these words. Compare other instances of the use of 'the Word of God' and 'word of their testimony' of God:
            Revelation 1:9
            Revelation 6:9
            Revelation 12:11
            Revelation 17:17
            Revelation 19:9

       b) to the testimony of Jesus Christ,

There is no doubt about it. This Revelation is a continuation of John's testimony of Jesus Christ. First, he closes his gospel,   John 21:24-25, with his bearing witness to the things Jesus Christ did. He continues in the beginning of his first letter to proclaim what he has seen and heard - 1 John 1:1-4. And culminates his closeness to Jesus Christ with the Revelation of Jesus, Revelation 22:16

       c)  even to all that he saw.

John didn't leave anything out this time. He recorded everything meticulously, for us to read, hear, and heed. This is not a novel or science fiction book; it is what John actually saw (and heard) as he was transported divinely back to the future.

      Blessed is he who READS and those who HEAR the words of the prophesy, and HEED the things which are written in it;

John clearly understood the way this, his prophesy ( = future events and present spiritual exhortations and warnings), was to be presented in the church. That is, one reads (and receives this special blessing) and the rest listen and understand what is being read. Jesus, talking about himself, said in Matthew 13:16-17 , that the hearers were privileged to listen to Him even as many prophets of old and future generations of righteous would not. The reading of the Revelation, thus, makes Jesus Christ come alive to the hearer just as though He Himself were speaking the words.

Comparing the first three verses of this chapter with the conclusion in Revelation 22:6-21 , one gets the feeling that this Revelation should be read to the congregation in its entirety in one sitting. Perhaps this is the only way that the full blessing promised in this verse can be realized.

This verse contains the first of seven "Beatitudes" in Revelation:
1)
Revelation 1:3 -
for the present day
2)
Revelation 14:13 -
related to the Great Tribulation period.
3)
Revelation 16:15 -
related to the Great Tribulation period.
4)
Revelation 19:9 -
deals with the invitation to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
5)
Revelation 20:6 -
points to the Millennium.
6)
Revelation 22:7 -
Celestial City
7)
Revelation 22:14 -
Celestial City

     for the TIME IS NEAR.

Christ's return and the fulfillment of the Judgment as told in Revelation 11:15-18 always has been imminent. We always are to be looking for His return - John 21:20-23 and Acts 1:9-11 .

If the TIME is near, why don't we see it arriving now. Because Christ is patient with the world and its inhabitants, 2 Peter 3:8-9 , and the believers are still being transformed into their glorified forms - 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 .

Compared to eternity or forever, any time period is NEAR, whether it is one second or 2000 years. Thus all the apostles except for Peter (John 21:20-23 and 2 Peter 1:12-15) had the hope of seeing the "TIME" even as we do today. Now that we are almost 2000 years closer, we definitely must get on with the "reading" (our effort in putting this into computerized form), the "hearing" (your effort to study this exposition), and the "heeding" (your actions which show that you paid attention to) the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 Used by permission."

References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only.