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The book of Revelation is a book that speaks to our times (Revelation 1-3) and to the times to come (Revelation 4-21). In the opening verses of Revelation the stage is set for all that will follow. In quick succession, John prefaces the prophecy with the following:
Title (v.1) – The title of the book is taken from the opening verse, “The revelation of Jesus Christ” (NIV). Christ is thus the divine author who unveils the future and opens our eyes to what will be.
Testimony (v.2) – The apostle John is the human writer who recorded first-hand what he saw and heard. As an eyewitness to future events John acts as Christ’s stenographer. The use of triplets throughout the book confirm John’s role. The triplet reads, “told everything he had seen … about God’s message … about what Jesus Christ had said.”
Terms (v.3) – There is a threefold blessing for everyone who reads the book. The triplet reads, “everyone who reads … will bless everyone who hears … and obeys it.” This promise reminds us that the purpose of reading and hearing God’s Word is for us to act on it.
Time (v.4) – Consistent with Matthew 24:42, no specific dates are given for the fulfilment of the prophecy. The person who reads Revelation should expect the imminent return of Christ.
Target (v.4) – The book is addressed to seven churches located in Asia Minor (present day Turkey). The entire book, not just the seven letters, was written for all the churches to read.
Tribute (vv.5-6) – John introduces Jesus with a tribute of praise to emphasize who Jesus is (faithful witness, firstborn from the dead, ruler of the kings of the earth) and what He does for us (loves, frees and made us).
Theme (vv.7-8) – The theme is the coming of Jesus Christ. It is stated twice, first by John who saw the revelation (v.7), and then by Christ the Source of Revelation (v.8). Uniquely, for we don’t find this in any other book of the Bible, verse 8 is the signature of God. These words are autographed by none less than the Author Himself!
Lord, thank you that you are the “Alpha and the Omega, the one who is, and who was, and is to come, the Almighty” (NIV). Amen.