Sunday, January 6, 2013

Worthy is the Lamb

The underlying theme of The Revelation is:

   Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Rev. 5:12

   The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 
   who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 
   Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. 1:1-3

A.  The introduction to the Revelation:

   Verses 1-3 are written in the third person, therefore the writer of these 3 verses speaks of John as him.  John's starts writing in verse 4.  Of course, there are Bible students who do not believe that Saint John was the author, but that is an issue for another person, place and time.

   The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him.  It is not a revelation by Jesus Christ, as The New World Translation has it.  Neither is Jesus Christ the Revelator, as Uriah Smith** has it.  The revelation given to John, by Jehovah, is a revelation of Christ.  

   This revelation was given To show His servants -- things which must shortly take place.  John was a servant only; the servant who was chosen to write this oracle or at least part of it.  In the sentence, He sent and signified it, the word He must be understood as referring to Jehovah.  The Father sent the revelation of Jesus Christ ... by His angel to His servant John.

   John bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ.   Let it be stated that in The Revelation, John witnessed much to the Word of God (the Old Testament).  Dr. J. Vernon McGee* writes It is calculated that there are over five hundred references or allusions to the Old Testament in (The) Revelation and that, of its 404 verses, 278 contain references to the Old Testament.

      Some Bible commentators say that the words, John bore witness to the word of God means that John spoke of Christ because "Christ is the Word of God".  It is not at all likely that that is the meaning because in the very next sentence Christ is mentioned separately; also because the two thoughts are separated by the word and.  Notice: to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ. So let's not find the doctrine of the trinity where it is not even hinted at.

   The words in 1:2, all things that he saw, cause an interesting disagreement among Bible students.  The phrase, being in the past tense, influence some to believe that John was later released from Patmos, where he had been a prisner, and went to Ephesus, where he became the pastor.  They say this is a sound argument that John wrote The Apocalypse a long time after he saw the revelation.  This could explain why the events in the book are not recorded in chronological order.   

  However, Wuest# says that Greek grammar does not allow that interpretation, and that, came to be, is the proper translation of the word, was and it is not in the past tense.  Therefore there is no argument in these verses that John was ever released from Patmos because the phrase is not at all related to time.

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy.  The word, this, needs to be emphasized, thereby stressing the idea that the study of The Apocalypse is not to be ignored, or even avoided because it is difficult or terrifying.  Rather, the reading of it and hearing it will lead to blessings if one also keeps those things which are written in it.  The Living Bible translates the word, keeps, as, do what it says.

The fact that "reader" is in the singular and “hearer” is in the plural, indicates that the preacher of the church would read the book; the hearers would be his congregation.  In John's era, the average person did not have access to books and the best they could hope for would be to hear that which was being read.

** A Commentary of Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, Seventh Day Adventist.
* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.

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