The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,Revelation 1:1(NASB)
The first verse of Revelation (translated 'apokalupsis' from the Greek, and often called the Apocalypse) makes a very important statement that is too often misconstrued, misapplied, and even mistranslated... often giving it a meaning that is opposite to the truth, resulting in all sorts of confusion. Revelation is not an Apocrypha as many teach (something that is hidden) but an Apocalypse; a revealing, an unveiling, a disclosing, a making known.
The opening verse of the Apocalypse explains what is being revealed: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." It is the revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ "which God gave Him, to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. And He sent and communicated it through His angel to His bond-servant John." The fundamental subject of Revelation is Jesus Christ, and John was given much information about Him that hitherto had remained hidden within the pages of Scripture.
Jesus is both the Giver of the revelation and also the Subject of the revelation. In the Gospels, He was revealed to us in His humility. In Revelation, He is displayed in majesty and great glory. In the Gospels, He came to earth as the suffering Servant Who was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and by Whose stripes we are healed. In Revelation, He returns to earth as the triumphant Hero.
In the Gospels, He rode on a lowly donkey on His way to the Cross wearing a crown of thorns while being labelled 'Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews'. In Revelation, He sits astride a white charger wearing many diadems on His head with the words 'KING OF KINGS, and LORD OF LORDS' on His vestments while being accompanied by many sons He has brought to glory. In the Gospels, He was identified as the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. In Revelation, He is revealed as the Lamb in the midst of the throne Who was surrounded by four living creatures Who alone has authority to break the seals of the seven-sealed scroll and return the lost kingdom to His Father in heaven.
While John was told of things that must shortly come to pass, the object that is being revealed in these pages is Jesus Christ. The person that is being unveiled in this final book of the Bible is the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, and God the Father is the One Who is making Him known to us all. God gave this revelation OF Jesus Christ TO Jesus Christ Who, in turn, gave it to His angel who was charged with passing it on to the apostle John... "to make it known to God's bond-servants."
While there are many other things that are made known in this book, like the Antichrist, the four horsemen, the two witnesses, the ministry of angels, mystery Babylon, the mark of the beast, and the Great White Throne judgement seat... the primary thing that is being revealed throughout its pages is Jesus Christ. The principal person that is made known to us is the Lord Jesus Christ, without Whom every other event within its pages is of no significance.
More often than not, students of Revelation are looking for the events that take place in Revelation and spend their energy trying to make sense of them, while missing the most important truth - that every event that takes place in this book is written to reveal more and more of the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, the First and the Last - the Author and Finisher of our faith, without Whom we would be without hope, forever lost, and eternally damned.
Many struggle to understand the meaning of certain objects, the progression of certain events, the identity of certain people, and the time frame of certain passages in the Apocalypse, while others refuse to examine its content, declaring it to be impossible to decipher and describing it as an enigma that is impossible to understand. However, the first few words of the book make it strikingly clear to everyone that the primary reason for the writing of this book is to give us the full and final revelation of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus - to tell us things about Him which God the Father gave Him to show to His bond-servants, things which must soon take place - and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant, John.
While the book contains many prophecies that are to take place in the future - the fundamental truth to which we should hold is that the Lord Jesus is the central object of all prophecy. Jesus is the one about whom prophecy is written and He is the one that ultimately fulfils all prophecy as John reminds us in Revelation 19: "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word and that You have told us what will happen before it happens so that we will believe. May I read, mark, and learn from all You have told me in the book of Revelation and may I be guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth. But above all, as I read this book, I pray that Jesus would be revealed to me, more and more, and I would know Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, and follow Him more nearly, all the days of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.