Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Revelation 1:1 "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."
Yesterday we offered some introductory quotes from some leading scholars about the Book of Revelation, as well as an outline of the Book. In today's post, we are going to touch on some key features of Revelation 1:1-8. Revelation 1:1-8 functions as the "front porch" or "preface" to the whole book of Revelation. Among the key themes of the opening verses is the theme of Christ and His second coming. This bodes well with the whole theme of the Book of Revelation, since it centers around the Person of Jesus Christ and His Second Coming. As the first five words of Revelation 1:1 state: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ".
Main thoughts to consider about Christ's second coming
As you read down through Revelation 1:1-8, you find reference to Christ's second coming three times that reveal to us the nature and significance of Christ's Soon return. Christ's second coming dominates the biblical prophetic landscape, with 224 prophecies expected to be fulfilled at His Coming. Furthermore, three terms are used to summarize the nature of Christ's second coming in the New Testament: "approaching", "visible" and "powerful". Let the reader understand that these thoughts are attempting to capture the main point of the passage, rather than attempting to exhaust the details of the text itself. So what can we note about Christ's Second coming from Revelation 1:1-8?
Christ's Second Coming is Approaching
Revelation 1:3 states - "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near." The nearness of Christ's second coming to this planet is a truth repeated throughout the pages of the New Testament in general and Revelation in particular.1 For example, Jesus began preaching in Matthew 4:17 that the "Kingdom of Heaven was "near" or "at hand".2 This sense of "uncertainty" as to the timing of Christ's return and "immediacy" all factor into the manner in which His coming is approaching.
To believers and mainly the world, the second coming of Jesus may seem to be taking a long time, however on God's upper story time table, the second coming is right around the corner. (2 Peter 3:9-10) The approaching, imminent return of Jesus Christ is often spoken of as a day wherein the sun is setting and night is approaching. (1 Thessalonians 5) The approaching of Christ's return could happen within our generation or sooner. As Jesus Himself told John in Revelation 22:10 - "And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near."
So the second coming of Jesus Christ could get underway sooner than we think. But notice a second trait, namely....
Christ's Second Coming Will be Visible
Revelation 1:7 reveals - Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. The Bible is pretty clear that the second coming of Jesus Christ will not be a secret event, but a public one. The Old Testament prophets such as Zechariah 12:10 predicted that every eye would see the Lord in His second coming. Jesus Himself in Matthew 24-25 and Luke 21 speaks of the "public" and "visible nature" of His return. When Jesus ascended into heaven before the disciples, the angels told the apostles in Acts 1:14 - They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” How will the whole earth witness this major event? Many of course have speculated, but all we know is that everyone will know when He returns and His return will be unmistakable.3
Now the "visible" nature of Christ's second coming is not only to demonstrate to the world the reality of the event, but also to underscore something about Jesus Himself - His humanity and Deity. When Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, He still retained His full post-resurrected humanity. Why is that important? Because not only did Jesus have to be fully man and fully God to be the Savior and Lord to accomplish redemption in His first coming, but prophetic scripture reveals He has to be fully man and fully God in His appearing. Daniel 7:13-14 speaks of a figure "likened unto the Son of Man" who will appear at the end of time. Scripture teaches that the Christian's body will be made like His at His appearing. (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:1-3) The Bible plainly states that Jesus at His appearing will be fully God in glorified human flesh. (Acts 17:31; Titus 2:13)
Christ's Second Coming Will Be Powerful
Revelation 1:8 tells us - “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Christ's second coming will literally alter earth, Heaven and time itself. Jude for example tells us that Enoch, the 7th from Adam, predicted that the Lord Jesus Christ will return in the glory and power of many thousands of holy ones. (Jude 14) 2 Thessalonians 2 reveals that Christ will return to slay the Anti-Christ and his forces by the word of His mouth. Quite literally when Christ returns, mountains will split and the current terrain of earth will be altered and refurbished to be prepared for what will be Christ's Millennial or 1,000 year reign. (Isaiah 11; Zechariah 12-14; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28; Revelation 19:11-20:15). Christ's coming will be attended by the uncreated fire of His own Deity and the glory of His Father that will melt rocks and disentangle all the forces currently holding our universe together. (2 Peter 3) The power of Jesus Christ exceeds the unaided human mind untouched by grace. (1 Corinthians 2:9)
1. Steve Gregg in his book: "Revelation, Four Views, A Parallel Commentary" page 19, lists the following passages in Revelation that many say hint to the second coming of Jesus Christ: Revelation 1:7; 6:14-17; 11:18; 14:14-20; 16:20-21; 19:11; 20:9
2. The word translated "near" could speak of a normal time event as being either a few days from the time of the speaker (John 2:13) or of a place that was in "near" proximity to another place. (John 10:40) When Paul spoke of his impending death as being near in 2 Timothy 4:6, he was sure that his death was "imminent" or at any moment. Peter spoke of his own sense of impending death, noting that the time was "rapidly drawing near". (2 Peter 1:14)
3. Many have speculated that perhaps their will be satellite broadcasts beaming the signal around the globe at the end of the seven year tribulation period prior to His coming. However with such cosmic disturbances predicted, sattelite transmissions will be rendered next to impossible. Furthermore, the earth's population will be diminished and shifted more towards the middle-eastern region. It would seem that the second coming of Jesus will be witnessed in real time by eye-witnesses who wilfully and knowing rejected Him. Furthermore, the Jewish nation who will had gathered in Jerusalem will be granted the Spirit of Repentance and call upon Him as Her Messiah. (Zechariah 12:10ff)