Revelation: an unsealed book

Revelation, An Unsealed Book
by Timothy McKeown
Introduction, Part 1

1. The Setting of Revelation:
PHYSICALLY: The Island of Patmos, around 95 A.D.
PROPHETICALLY: Heaven, and the future earth.
Written around 95 A.D. on the Island of Patmos, the book of the Revelation is not a book of mystery but an unsealed book of prophecy (Rev. 22:10), intended to explain to those reading the things which John had seen, the things which were happening at the time, and also things which would occur in the future. While a very few have theorized that Revelation was written during Nero’s persecution, the very temperament of the seven churches do not fit that time period.

2. The Scribe of Revelation: John
According to Rev. 1:1, 4, 9; 21:2, 8, Revelation is written by John. How do we know this is the Apostle John? Virtually all ancient church fathers writing after the conclusion of the New Testament testify that it was penned by the Apostle John, the beloved disciple. The first record we have that John, the Apostle, was the author comes from Justin the Martyr, just 70 years after its writing. Another comes from Irenaeus who died in 190 A.D. He was a pupil of Polycarp, whom John the Apostle himself converted and discipled. Polycarp was the pastor of the church at Smyrna, which is mentioned in Revelation.
Ironically, neither the gospel of John, nor his three epistles tells us directly the name the author. Yet, in the Revelation, John names himself five times. There are distinct similarities in content of the New Testament books ascribed to John.

Jesus is the Word of God “Logos”
Rev. 19:13
John 1:1, 14, 1 John 1:1
Jesus is Divine
Rev. 1:11
John 10:30
Jesus as the Lamb of God
Rev. 5:6, 8, 12
John 1:29, 36
Jesus as Shepherd
Rev. 7:17
John 10:11
Fountain of thirst-quenching water
Rev. 21:6
John 4:14
Frequent use of sevens
7 churches, 7 lamps, 7 stars, 7 spirits, 7 seals, 7 horns, 7 eyes, 7 trumpets, 7 thunders, 7 “Blesseds”
7 “I Am” statements, 7 signs, 7 witnesses (testimonies), 7 major sermons,
False Jews; Demonic Judaism
Rev. 3:9
John 8:39, 44
Jesus as pierced
Rev. 1:7
John 19:34, 37

Why then is it so starkly different than the other books by John? In part, the book is different because the topic is so different. John was commanded to write exactly what he saw (Rev. 1:11), and not to interpret the things he saw; whereas John’s gospel was a reflective, meditative depiction of the life of Jesus, written to lead people to believe in Him.
Secondly, since neither the gospels nor his epistles specifically name John as the author, it is likely that God inspired John to employ scribe or writer who was proficient in Greek to help pen his dictation. This unnamed scribe was likely a devoted disciple and companion of the Apostle John who was able to craft the gospel and letters with refinement, and still retain the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit. His emphasis was not the specific content (as much was deleted from the Synoptic Gospels), but rather the delivery and the desired result: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” (John 20:29-30)

Thirdly, the book of Revelation was likely hand-written directly by the fisherman from Galilee who had been banished to Patmos, perhaps in solitude from any other Christian and surrounded only by other prisoners and guards. As a result, the grammar and syntax of the Greek is rough, with the emphasis on the content, not the delivery. Further, there are divine curses on adding to or taking away from any of the words of the prophecy of this book (Rev. 22:18-19). Hence, this book will retain the personal characteristics of John, the Apostle and author.

Comments

  1. Thanks for posting this Tim. VR Lee

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