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 The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Part 1
By Al Stoner
“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” (Rev. 1:1).

The Revelation of Jesus Christ.  The Revelation of Jesus Christ is book pertaining exclusively to God’s only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  At various points throughout this volume we are introduced to the Person of the glorified Christ, as He is revealed nowhere else in Scripture.  He is called here “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending” (Rev. 1:8), “the first and the last” (Rev. 1:11), “the faithful and true Witness” (Rev. 3:14), “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David” (Rev. 5:5), “the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and the Morning Star” (Rev. 22:16),  “the Beginning of the creation of God” (Rev. 3:14), “He which hath the sharp sword with two edges” (Rev. 2:12), and several other names, which we purpose to deal with at a later time. 

But the revelation of Christ’s Person (His Divinity, His Manhood, His Eternality) is not the exclusive focus of this book.  From the perspective of an accomplished redemption in Christ, and enemies defeated by Christ, this book enables suffering saints to face calamity and woe, assuring them of final victory in the end, because of Him who was dead, but is now alive forevermore.  It is a revelation of that which God gave to the Son to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.  The Lord Jesus Christ, and particularly the glorified Christ, is the central focus of the Revelation. Everything revealed in this book pertains to Christ, in one way or another: the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, the unfolding of the purpose of God in Christ, the High Priesthood of Christ, the brethren of Christ (who are said to be called, and chosen, and faithful), the timely ministrations and incentives of Christ to His brethren, the conversion of Israel to Christ, the innumerable company of redeemed to Christ, the enemies of Christ, the victory and triumph of Christ over all His and His brethren’s enemies.

The Colossians 1 Text.  There are other portions of the Scripture that focus on the Person, Character, and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In Colossians chapter 1 Christ’s identity is declared by the Apostle with analytic detail.  Writing of the One in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins, . . .

. . . Paul goes on to declare that this One, even Jesus Christ, is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. 
He then continues: “For by Him (Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him.”
With respect to Christ’s preeminence over all created beings and things, Paul declares, “And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.”
“And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.”
Christ has the preeminence because of His sufferings in our behalf.  “And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled.”
In the unfolding of these blessed realities pertaining to the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul was not merely “catechizing” the Colossian brethren, but rather as an able minister of the New Covenant he was bringing these realities to bear on the current situation.  The brethren at Colossae had become captivated by a “touch not, taste not, handle not” approach to the things of God.  They had reverted back to the observance of Sabbath days and new moons, exchanging the substance of the salvation in Christ, which is by faith, for the shadows contained in the Law.  Paul could have severely upbraided the Colossian brethren for this reversion, without saying any more, and what he wrote to them was, in part at least, of the nature of a rebuke.  But making appeal to their new creatureship in Christ, he holds forth this revelation of the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, which, if given heed to, is abundantly able to rescue them from their captivations. Paul is showing them “the better thing”.

The Philippians 2 Text. In Philippians 2 the humiliation and the exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ are unfolded by the Apostle in detail, focusing not only on the fact of Christ’s humiliation and exaltation, but also on the character and willingness of Him who humbled Himself, and was subsequently exalted by the Father.  And Paul, as is his custom, brings the truth of these matters directly to bear on the faith and conduct of the brethren (at Philippi, and the church at large) so that it becomes a powerful incentive and constraint to follow the Savior in the blessed example that He has set forth.  This constraint makes its appeal to new creatureship in Christ, not to the part that was born of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:5-11).

The Matthew 11:27 Text.  Another classic example of the revelation of Christ’s Person is found in the words of the Lord Himself in Matthew 11:27.  Here what is being brought to our attention is not the revelation of a particular aspect of Christ’s Person, but on the fact that there is any revelation of Christ at all.  Wherever the Father and Christ are known, and not merely known about, They have made Themselves known to men, and not indiscriminately.  Jesus said, “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me” (Jn. 6:44-45).

Without seeking to probe into the secret workings of God (Deut. 29:29), we can say of a surety, that wherever there are tender hearts towards the word of God and the things pertaining to His Son, God has been at work there.  And wherever there is no interest and hardness of heart, this is not a good sign. But let us judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come.  Let us preach the Word, both in season and out of season, as faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
“All things are delivered unto me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him” (Mt. 11:27).

The Revelation of Jesus Christ.  It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him. This book has its origin with God the Father.  It is good for us to consider that the things recorded in this book are things that God, the Father, wants His people to know.  It is absolutely essential that His people know, and duly consider the things recorded in this book in order for them to gain the victory over the beast, the false prophet, and the Devil, the evil triumvirate revealed in the latter part of The Book of the Revelation, especially. 

The Revelation is a series of visions, which John is given to see.  (In this series of visions there are occasional interludes.)  For example, chapters 1 to 3 are a vision of the exalted Christ and His churches.  Chapters 4 to 8:1 speak of the One who is worthy to open the seven seals (of destiny), and then the actual unfolding of those seals. In chapter 7 there is an interlude between the opening of the sixth and seventh seal, the first part pertaining to the conversion of Israel, and in the second part we are given to see an innumerable company of redeemed personalities from every kindred, tongue, tribe, and nation “clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands”.  What is revealed in each of the seals is not necessarily successive in nature historically, but rather, each speak of different troubles, often grievous troubles, that Christ’s brethren are called upon to pass through.  He that is wise will eat the book, internalizing the sayings of the prophesies contained therein, and thus enabling God to minister the necessary admonitions, words of instruction, and consolations at various points in one's life.
“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” (Rev. 1:1).
God the Father gave this revelation to the Son to show unto His servants things which much shortly come to pass. God gave it to the Son, the Son gave it to the angel, and the angel gave it unto John. (And nothing was lost in the transmission).
Some of the translations use the word bondservants or slaves (doulos), instead of servants, as the KJV renders the word. The servitude that is characterized in the New Covenant is a willing servitude.  If we use the word bondservant or slave, it is with the understanding that the servitude is not slavish in nature, unless it be self-imposed out of love for Him who laid down His life for us.

Things which must shortly come to pass.  This is from the perspective of the Divine calendar. One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and one thousand years as a day.  “For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (Ps. 90:4).  And John declared in his first epistle, “It is the last time.” --Editor