Now sitting on the Island of Patmos, John wrote to the early Church that he might explain the things Jesus showed him concerning their future and the future of their children, and what they should and had a need to prepare for. And reading John’s opening message and what he said to the Church before explaining what he saw in his vision is something we have missed over the centuries.
We missed understood John’s message leading up to the vision he explained to the Church. Because speaking to the early Church, John said in his introduction, “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.” And what most people missed in this introduction, is the fact that John spoke of the vision received not as a revelation of who Jesus was, but as a message from God to his people, the revelation and testimony of Jesus Christ.
The revelation was a message to John from Jesus, it was his effort to show his people what was to come shortly upon the earth in John’s day, and what was to come in the future leading up to the day of his return; the day God chose to reclaim the kingdom of David and his Christ. It was not a revelation of who Jesus was; instead, it was a message from God to his Son who gave the vision to John. And upon receiving the message, Jesus told John to write what he saw, and that John was to share what he saw with the Church.
John later wrote as part of his introduction, and writing in the third person he wrote, “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.” And upon receiving the message, John testified to what he saw in his vision, and what John saw can be seen through the eyes of his testimony.
We have today the book of Revelation because of John’s testimony, John said he received the testimony of Jesus Christ concerning things to come, and upon receiving that testimony, John said, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is near.”
And why we may ask did John spoke these words as part of his introduction? Well, it has to do with what we will have to do in order to escape what is coming. However, for most Christians, there is a coming rapture; therefore, there is no need for us to prepare. But a careful review of John’s introduction will show the rapture will not be before the return of Jesus Christ but at the return of Jesus Christ.
But how did we come by this information and conclusion? Well, it can be understood based on what John said, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy.” This means it is a blessing to have received the testimony of Jesus Christ that is revealing what is coming in the future, and reading it aloud is sharing the information with those we love so they can also prepare for what is coming.
Being informed is a blessing because it provides the means and time to prepare for what is to come. And having the information we need concerning what is to come will help us prepare accordingly, so we lack nothing during the season of testing. And as we continue to read John’s introduction, the second thing we will note in John’s statement is that he has also placed a hedge of protection around those hearing and taking to heart what he was about to share.
John wrote, “Blessed are those who hear it, and take to heart what is written in it, that is, the prophecy and vision he was about to reveal because the time is near.” And this John said because hearing the message is to understand and prepare that we might keep or guard against the coming hour.
To hear is to act on the knowledge and testimony of Jesus Christ, and to keep is to watch, to remain faithful as we diligently prepare for the day of the Lord knowing the time is near. Which then leads us to ask this question, “Why was the book of Revelation written?” And to answer that question, it was written to provide us with the information we need on how to prepare for the Day of the Lord according to the vision and what is to come.
Therefore, John wrote in his book called the book of Revelation that what he saw was, Revelation 1:1-2 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants’ things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.” And seeing these things, John was writing to the people of God who had seen him some forty times after his resurrection.