The Revelation: Introduction
In the first chapter of the Revelation, we are given the Origin of the Revelation, the Division of the Revelation, and how we are to Interpret the Revelation.
The Author of the Revelation
The Book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John who testified to everything he saw concerning the Word of God and Jesus Christ.
The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Rev. 1:1-2
As a faithful witness to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, John was given the Revelation to show God’s servants what must soon take place. In this case, the word soon refers to the events of John’s own lifetime. In particular, John was told to write on a scroll what he saw concerning the Seven Churches, which were located in the province of Asia (Modern-day Turkey), and that existed at the time of the writing of the Revelation.
On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” Rev. 1:10-11
After being given the above instructions, the Lord appeared to John among seven golden lampstands with seven stars in his hands.
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest… In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. Rev. 1:12-16
The voice of the Lord commanding John to, “Write down what you see”, and the vision of the Christ among the seven golden lampstands forms the testimony of John concerning the origin of the Revelation, which came from God, and not from John himself or a false angel.
The Division of the Revelation
Following the appearing of the Lord, John was given further instructions concerning what he was to write.
“Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.” Rev. 1:19
The above command divides the Book of the Revelation into three sections; John’s testimony concerning his witness of Christ (what you have seen), the Letters to the Seven Churches (what is now), and the events that would take place in the future (what will take place later). From this, we learn that the Revelation was written to show John both cotemporary and future events.
Interpreting the Revelation
This chapter ends with John being given the meaning of the seven golden lampstands and the seven golden stars, which John saw when the Lord appeared to him.
“The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” Rev. 1:20
The example of John being given the meaning of the seven stars and seven lampstands, within the Revelation itself, provides us with the method by which we are to interpret the rest of the Book. That is, we are to use the Scriptures to interpret the Scriptures. In this way, the Revelation will explain itself.
Revelation Chapter 2
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The Revelation: Introduction