The revelation of Jesus Christ to His servants through John (Part 1): Revelation 1–3

Let’s face it, Revelation is not an easy book to understand and apply. There are arguments about:

  • when it was written (before or after the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70?)
  • to whom it was written (just the seven named churches as physical entities, or to believers everywhere, or to churches like those seven named churches?)
  • whether it is entirely symbolic or can be taken literally, or something in between
  • and probably more.

Setting all that aside, the book itself tells us its purpose in the opening line:

Revelation 1:1-2 This is a revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

This John is believed to have been John the Apostle, and he might have been in Ephesus when he had this vision (in about AD 60), or he might have been exiled on the island of Patmos (in about AD 96). The former is highly speculative, and it’s based on the time when the seven churches and other things mentioned physically existed or could exist (for example, some of the churches were destroyed in an earthquake); the latter is based on a quote of a quote of something one of John’s contemporaries said some time later.

Either way, if you accept that this book was written to show His servants everything was to happen soon and help them (or all of us) to stay focused on Jesus, then it seems that not everything in the book has all happened yet. Even if some parts of the prophecies in Revelation have happened, not everything has:

Revelation 1:7Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him.Yes! Amen!

Soon, in God’s timing, is not necessarily ours. God keeps His promises, even if it takes a thousand years or more.