Revelation: Prologue and Epilogue
Rev 1:1-8 and 22:6-21
The Prologue and Epilogue set the context for the whole of this revelation. Once the context is understood, the revelation is easier to understand. The revelation was not to be added to nor subtracted from. The churches in the province of Asia would have known its meaning without needing it spelled out. It was given to them so they would know what was about to happen and to reassure them them that having stood faithfully, they would see Jesus' return in person. They would have rejoiced indeed when that happened.
Rev 1:1 An Uncovering (apokalupsis/disclosure) by Jesus Messiah (christos/anointed), which Yahweh (theos/god) gave to Him to show to His bondservants what would occur hastily (en tachos.) And He sent it out signifying it through His angel to His bondservant (doulos) Ioannes (John),
This prophecy was only for Jesus' disciples and it was to show them what was about to take place. It would happen soon (v3) and it would happen quickly (v1.) His disciples therefore expected to see all the signs of this prophecy and to see the end of the age and the coming of Jesus in the clouds to happen shortly and certainly in their lifetime. Ioannes (John) was the recipient of this uncovering.
It was an uncovering of Yaheweh's timetable for the end of the age and given to John because it was all going to happen very shortly, so it was highly likely he would witness all these things (unless cut short by being murdered as Peter and Paul and others were about 68AD by the Romans during the Roman Jewish wars of 66-72AD.)
It was not to be sealed (Rev 22:10) for the same reason, because it spoke of events they would see in a short time to come. (Unlike the prophecy given to Daniel of the last days which was to be sealed for several hundred years until the end of the age which was the time of John. If the prophecy was not for 2000 years then this revelation would have been sealed too, like Daniel's.)
Rev 1:2 who witnessed (martureo) the word (logos) of Yahweh (theos) and the witness (marturia) of Jesus Christ and as much as he saw.
We don't know which Ioannes (John) this was. Whether his witness of the word and of Jesus and other things was previous to this revelation or only concerning this revelation, we don't know. He must have been very important to Yahweh to be chosen to carry this revelation. He might have been the apostle John or a leader of the 7 churches in Asia. His identity isn't crucial to the prophecy. The message was more important.
Rev 1:3 Supremely blessed are the reader and hearers of the words of this prophecy, and the keepers who guard the writings in it, for the time nears (eggus.)
The reason the reader and hearers and keepers were so blessed was because the time was for them. It wasn't for another time or people or age. They would see it all happen and live through it to the end of the age and see Jesus come in the clouds.
Rev 1:4 Ioannes to the seven churches (ekklesia) those in Asia (a province in west Turkey.) Joy (charis/grace) to you and peace (eirene) from he who is and was and is to come; and from the seven Breaths (pneuma/breeze) which are in the presence (enopion) of His throne (thronos);
John is asked to address this to the 7 churches in western Turkey which at that time was the Asia Province. (I have been to two of these sites. Old Laodicea has nothing left but several large building stones and lots of thorns. Ephesus used to be a port but is now miles inland because of land uplift and sea lowering.) The is, was and is to come = Yahweh Elohim, the Father. The 7 Breaths round His throne = the Breath of Yahweh Elohim.
Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ the trustworthy (pistos) witness, the first-born (prototokos) from the dead (nekros) and the chief (archon/first) of the kings of the land (ge/soil), loved us and washed (louo/bathed) us from our sins (hamartia) by His own blood (aima),
Messiah Jesus was faithful in living His life as a true reflection of the character of Yahweh Elohim. As a result, he was the first to be raised from the dead with a new body that was able to pass through objects and ascend to the sky. As a result, Jesus was supreme over the rulers of the land where Yahweh's people lived.
Jesus loved His disciples and washed them clean from their sins by His blood so that they no longer had any sin and were free to worship Yahweh in breath and in truth. If they remained sinless until Jesus returned, they would be saved from the judgement to come upon the unbelieving Israelites, and He would then take them to His Fathers Kingdom in the sky, a place hidden from view (though opened for view to Stephen just before he died by stoning in Acts 7:56)
Rev 1:6 and made us kings and priests for God; and of His Father (pater) to Himself glory (doxa) and vigour (kratos) through two ages (ein aion aion), truly (amen).
Having sanctified His disciples, they would become rulers and priests to serve Yahweh Elohim for 2 ages – that one and the one to come. During this time of the 2 ages, Yahweh Elohim the Father was honoured and strong.
Rev 1:7 Behold, He comes (erchomai/comes/goes) among clouds (nephele) and all eyes (opthalmos/gazing eyes) shall gaze at Him, and those who pierced (ekkenteo) Him, and all the tribes (phule/offshoot) of the land (ge/soil) will lament over Him. Truly and absolutely.
Jesus was coming in the clouds and all those below the clouds who were gazing up would see Him, plus those who had put him to death. All the tribes of Israel would lament to see Him in the clouds, mourning the early death of their Messiah and not having recognised Him as such. They would also lament knowing their prophesied judgement was at hand.
Rev 1:8 “I am A (Alpha) and O (Omega), beginning (arche/first in time/place/rank) and Endine (eschatos/final of place/time), says the supreme authority (kurios/Lord) who is, who was and who is coming, the All Ruling (pantokrator.)”
Yahweh Elohim states that He is the first and ending. (Other passages state that He is the genesis and ending of the age of Israel.) He was the God of the people of Israel, he is the God of the people of Israel at the time of this prophecy, and He would be the God of the reborn people of Israel of whom Jesus was the first. (Those not reborn of the House of Israel would no longer be the people of Israel.) Yahweh Elohim did and would rule over all His people.
Paul says in Romans "Not all of Israel is Israel." In our day someone might say "Not all of the Church is the Church" meaning that of the 100% who call themselves Christians, less than 100% actually trust Jesus. Likewise true Israel who trusted in Yahweh was only a fraction of all those with Israelite blood.
Rev 22:6 And He said to me, “These words, trustworthy and true.”And the Lord Yahweh (theos) of the holy prophets sent out His angel to show to His bondservants the things which must hastily be done.”
Again it is stated that the end is coming hastily. The prophecy would not be spread over hundreds or thousands of years. It would all be concertinaed into one short time in history. The Supreme God is identified as the God of the Israelite prophets of old. This God is not the god of prophets of other nations or races but only of His people Israel. This God is Yahweh Elohim. These words were for the rebirthed people of Yahweh to show them what they would experience shortly.
Rev 22:7 “Behold, I come swiftly, supremely blessed keepers of the words of the prophecy of this scroll (biblion.)”
This verse reiteraties Rev 1:3 showing that the whole revelation from start to finish would be overseen by the keepers of that generation and that they would see the return of the Messiah who was coming speedily. There is no suggestion that the keepers of that generation did not understand any of the subjects contained in this scroll. They understood it, kept it and lived it. It was not for a future generation who would not understand the meaning of the scroll's subjects (and who might add teaching that was neither true nor allowed to be added.).
Rev 22:8 And I, Ioannes, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship in front of the feet of the angel showing me these things.
John saw and heard the whole uncovering revelation. And after doing so, fell down to worship the angel, either mistaking it to be Yahweh Elohim, even though he had been told in Rev 1:1 that it was Jesus' angel delivering the words, or because he thought that angels needed to be worshipped too.
Rev 22:9 Then he told (lego) me, “Stare (horao) not, for I am your co-bondservant, and (co-servant) of your brothers the prophets, and of the keepers of the words of this scroll. Worship Yahweh (theos).”
The angel corrects John's mistaken belief. The angel explains that he, like John, serve and worship Yahweh Elohim alone, as did the prophets before them, and as would the keepers of the scroll. The angel co-serves with all of these.
Rev 22:10 And he told me, “Seal not the words of the prophecy of this scroll, for the time is at hand.”
Here we see the opposite instruction to the one given to Daniel (Daniel 12:4 and 9.) Daniel was to seal his prophecy about the end times because then was not the end times. Conversely, John is not to seal the words because this is the time of the end. This how we know this revelation was for that generation and not for a later one, and why the words of this scroll are all long past.
Rev 22:11 “The unjust are unjust still, and the morally soiled are morally soiled still, and the righteous are righteous still, and the holy are holy still.
The unrighteous continue in unrighteousness. The righteous saints continue in righteousness. There is no cross-over for the saints. They cannot fall back into unrighteousness and then be forgiven again because Jesus died once for sin (and the Christian died to sin through repentance and baptism) and His blood does not cover sins after conversion, as Heb 10:18 and Heb 10:26 tell us. That's why the New Testament writers urged the saints to remain faithful to the end and why Jesus said he would hasten His coming for their sakes. This is another reason how we know He came at that time for those saints who had remained sinless following their conversion and up to the time of His return.
Rev 22:12 “And behold, I am coming hastily, and My wage with Me to give to each according to what his work shall be (esomai.)
Yahweh Elohim was coming soon and quickly. His payment would be made to every person on the basis of their work as a believer. Jesus had commended good works to His disciples so that Yahweh Elohim would be glorified (Math 5:16.) Paul stated (Rom 13:3) that the disciples were “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works and to walk in them.” To Timothy (1 Tim 6:18) the disciples were to “be rich in good works.” It would be on the basis of such good works that wages would be allocated.
Good works didn't precede their conversion to sinlessness for only Jesus could wipe their sins clean, but good works followed their conversion and their future wages were based on these.
Rev 22:13 “I am the A (Alpha) and the O (Omega), the beginning (arche) and the ending (telos), the first (protos) and the last (eschatos.) Yahweh Elohim is the beginning (of the age of Israel) and the end (of the age of Israel), the first of those people and the last of those people.
Rev 22:14 “Supremely blessed they who do His commandments (entole/instructions), that they will have the privilege to the tree (xulon/timber/stick) of life (zoe), and enter the gateway into the city (polis/town.)
Access to the Tree of Life is based on keeping the commandments, ie doing good works following repentance and forgiveness. The Tree of Life is the means by which these ones would be able to enter into the New Jerusalem.
Rev 22:15 “But outside (exo) are dogs (kuon), and sorcerers (pharmakos), and prostitutes (pornos) and murderers (phoneus), and idolaters, and all loving (phileo) and doing lies (pseudos.)
Dogs are evil doers (see Phil 3:2). The opposite of the walk and witness of the good works of His disciples were those who continued in unrighteousness. These ones would never have access to the Tree of Life nor to the New City. (See verses 11-12.)
Rev 22:16 “I, Jesus, have dispatched (pempo/send out) My angel to be a witness to you of these things over the churches. I am the root (rhiza) and the kin (genos) of Dabid (David), the radiant (lampros) and dawn star.
This revelation was only for the 7 churches of the Province of Asia (western Turkey today.) Jesus was a descendant of David and His foundation in Yahweh was the very root of who David was. Jesus lives in the sky (Heaven) with His father and there he is the radiant morning star. He was about to bring to be with Him and His Father – His saints, His redeemed perfected holy Church.
Rev 22:17 And the Breath (pneuma/breeze) and the Bride (numphe) call out (lego), “Come; and hearers who reply (epo) come and thirsty come, and those willing, receive (lambano/take) the rainwater (hudor Hudatos) of life (zoe) as a gift (dorean/gratuitously.)
The saints had been invited to take the future life their Messiah offered them. It was a free gift and it was their choice to accept or refuse, and happily the hearers and thirsty and willing, all accepted it.
Rev 22:18 For I testify jointly (summartureo/corroborate) to all who hear the matters (logos/words) of the prophecy of this scroll (biblion): If anyone adds to these things, Yahweh will add upon him the inflictions (plege) written in this scroll.
This teaching given to John and the churches in Asia was not to be enlarged upon. The scroll didn't need to be interpreted for the danger of interpreting it would be to add to it. The churches knew what it meant and were to accept it as written, or they would suffer for adding to it.
Rev 22:19 And if anyone removes from the words (logos) scroll of this prophecy, Yahweh will remove his share from the scroll of life, and from the holy (hagios) city (polis), and written in this scroll.
Nor was any part of the scroll to be taken out. It was a whole unit and the churches were to receive it as such for very soon they would see its complete fulfilment and Jesus return to be with them.
Rev 22:20 The witness to these things tells (lego) truthfully (nai), I am coming promptly (tachu.) Truthfully, I am coming, Lord Jesus."
Jesus is the witness and He declares that He is about to come to them. If He were not to have come, He would have falsified His own teaching and they would have been waiting in vain. But He was always faithful and that's how we know He did come at that time.
Rev 22:21 The joy (charis) of our Lord Jesus Messiah with you all, truly (amen/surely.)
Jesus brought perfect joy to His saints in Asia and before they had died, those who accepted His invitation, who had guarded this revelation and not added to nor subtracted from it, saw its full outcome, and they were joined with Him.