The New Testament can be separated into three sections: Past, Present, and Future. The first five books of the NT (the Gospels and Acts) tell of events that have already taken place in the first century. The next twenty-one books (the Epistles) are written for us in the present and deal with the nature of the church. The last book (Revelation) is written expressly about future events, and stands alone as the only prophetic book of the New Testament. We learned last time that it is called “Revelation” because it is the unveiling of truths that have been previously unknown. These are the truths that prior to A.D. 95, God had not yet chosen to give the church.
Revelation is truly a book of extremes. The truths revealed will be grave at times, as God executes His wrath on sinful humanity and destroys Satan once and for all, but there will also be glorious truths revealed as Christ is exalted and the redemption of all creation is accomplished. As we begin the text of Revelation, we see that the Apostle John writes that this is the “revelation of Jesus Christ.” He continues by saying that it is the revelation that “God gave to Him.” To understand the book of Revelation, we must understand that the number one thing to be revealed in the entire book of Revelation is the glory and exaltation of Jesus.
When we first meet Jesus in the New Testament he is announced as the coming Savior of the world. However, as He comes in the gospels it is in humility and without much dignity. Born in a stable, raised by poor parents, and maligned by an entire nation, Jesus does not come with much glory or fanfare. However, the prophecies of the Old Testament foretold of the day when He would reign in power. Now, in the revelation of Jesus Christ, we see a glimpse of the forthcoming glory of Jesus. Worshipped and revered, no longer is Jesus seen in a meek and humble place, rather, in this prophetic glimpse into the future, all of creation joins together to worship Him as it should.
Through the unfolding story of the end of all things, Jesus is seen above all and over all. Just as Paul had written in Philippians 2:9 that God has “highly exalted Him and given Him a name that is above every name.” Jesus is exalted and glorified, and in the revelation of all things, God shows John that in the future all those in rebellion against the authority and reign of Jesus will be punished and done away with. Jesus is revealed as the final victor and the restorer of all things.
God in His omniscience and in His Sovereignty would have nothing else but the victory of Christ over all His foes. Now, the future has been plainly shown. The events of Revelation cannot unfold in any other form. Satan and his minions will certainly be destroyed. And although the book of Revelation speaks of such dire destruction, in the end it reveals the glorious restoration of God’s perfect design in creation. Every believer seeing Jesus glorified and realizing the glory that awaits us can only turn in wonder and worship through the unfolding of this revelation of Jesus Christ.
Reflect: In your own words, explain why John would write that Revelation is the “revelation of Jesus.”