Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Opening Vision

"I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, . . ." (Revelation 1:9a - New King James Version)

This verse begins the main body of the Book of Revelation. The first eight verses are introductory. But beginning with this verse, John reveals vision upon vision and prophecy upon prophecy until the end of the book.

The first vision of Revelation begins with this verse and continues until the end of chapter three. In the last half of chapter one, John takes up the pen of a reporter. This passage is the foundation for the rest of the book, and John wants to carefully explain what occurred that we might accept the message of the entire book.

John answers the questions that most good newspaper stories should answer. He answers who, where, when, what was said, what was seen, and what was the result. In this post, we will answer the question of "Who saw the vision?"

John the Apostle saw this vision himself. At this time, he had been preaching for over 60 years. He was the only living Apostle. All the others had suffered martyrs' deaths.

John was one of the three disciples in Christ's inner circle. During Jesus' ministry, he was the beloved disciple. He had the authority and power of an Apostle. Yet there is no trace of pride or arrogance in what he writes.

This is all the more remarkable considering what John was once like. John and his brother, James, were called the sons of thunder. During Christ's ministry, they used their mother in an attempt to gain the best positions in the physical kingdom which they expected Christ to establish. They stopped someone who was not part of their group from using the name of Jesus. They asked permission to pray that fire come down from heaven and destroy a village that would not welcome Jesus.

Considering what John was like as a young man, and all the credentials he had, his description of himself shows how Jesus can change a person. Rather than lifting himself up above those to whom he was writing, he puts himself on the same level as them. John's humility is an example for us.

First, he stresses the unity of God's family. He and his readers are all children of God. He is their brother.

Then, he speaks of those things which they share. Both he and his readers were enduring persecution. Certainly, he had suffered greatly for Jesus, but so had they.

They both also had a part to play in God's kingdom. John had been greatly used of God. He had accomplished much. John had the promise of Jesus that he would be given a throne. However, all Christians have a part to play in God's kingdom work. God will not judge us according to what others have done, but according to how well we accomplish what He gives us to do. We are fellow-workers with the Apostles in God's kingdom.

As well, they both shared in the patience of Christ. Through the fire of persecution, they had learned to faithfully wait upon the Lord. They had endured great difficulties and remained true to God.

It was this John who saw the vision, an Apostle of Christ who felt a close union with other Christians. He was their brother. He had endured tribulation as they had. He was serving the same Lord they were. He had learned the same lessons they were learning.

This vision was not seen by some lofty, untouchable and sanctimonious figure who was far removed from day to day living. It was seen by John, a simple fisherman who understood the day to day problems of true godly living. This is not a pie-in-the-sky view of the future but practical down-to-earth prophetic encouragement. It is not complicated codes and hidden meanings but simple straight forward writing by a down to earth man.


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