Gems in the book of Revelation Part 121 - Revelation 1:1–3 More steps in the truth.
The settings for these gems.
Did you think we were finished with John’s Gems? No. We may have to cheat slightly by turning to the writings of what is probably another John to get the joys of the book of Revelation - but let us do that. I say a different John because his writing looks and sounds so different from the writings of the John of the Gospel and the 3 letters. The difference is obvious even in the English translation and it is even more obvious in the original Greek. But it is a wonderful book, full of gems, so here goes …..
Before we can get to the gems though we need to look at some of the gold and silver settings first. I will be trying to talk about his gems without getting caught up in any of the many different, and sometimes antagonistic schemes of interpretation that have been developed over the years. Particularly I will avoid like the plague all the many schemes that think the book is a detailed prophecy of what is happening in our day, which tend to make it meaningless for all the years up till very recently. John was writing in a way that was perfectly meaningful for those for whom he was writing. Since he talks about how people, some of the few who could read fluently, were to read the book to those who could not, I will call them his reader/listeners.
The trouble with this book in our very literal scientific age is that people are very slow to realise that it mainly consists of word-pictures. Ordinary pictures don’t make much sense if you try to describe them in words, they need to be seen to give their full value. Much the same is true of word-pictures. Some people try to turn them into ordinary pictures but you end up with some funny things like a figure with a sword coming out of his mouth without having any difficulty speaking!
So - what do these first 3 verses, “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. 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. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” say to form a gem? The whole book is given from the Lord God to John, but not directly. It comes to him, first through Jesus, who passes it on to an angel, who in turn passes it on to John. He does not explain quite how. Probably much of it was in the form of a vision, which we might call a succession of dreams. John has taken these, applied his consecrated mind to them, and come up with this long series of visions passing on ideas of how Christians are to live in the largely antagonistic world of the late first century (John probably wrote during the reign of the emperor Domitian who was responsible for the second harsh persecution of Christians).
Your reaction to these statements will depend on where you live and what your society and culture are like. If you live in a Western country you will be likely to view a book based on visions with considerable suspicion. If you live in many other parts of the world you will be inclined to like the idea and accept them as thoroughly valid. I cannot direct your thinking. May the good Lord incline your heart to learn many truths about Jesus from these pages and my scribbling!