“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:”
King James Version (KJV)
1:1 The Revelation - Properly so called; for things covered before are here revealed, or unveiled. No prophecy in the Old Testament has this title; it was reserved for this alone in the New. It is, as it were, a manifesto, wherein the Heir of all things declares that all power is given him in heaven and earth, and that he will in the end gloriously exercise that power, maugre all the opposition of all his enemies. Of Jesus Christ - Not of John the Divine, a title added in latter ages. Certain it is, that appellation, the Divine, was not brought into the church, much less was it affixed to John the apostle, till long after the apostolic age. It was St. John, indeed, who wrote this book, but the author of it is Jesus Christ. Which God gave unto him - According to his holy, glorified humanity, as the great Prophet of the church. God gave the Revelation to Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ made it known to his servants. To show - This word recurs, #Rev 22:6|; and in many places the parts of this book refer to each other. Indeed the whole structure of it breathes the art of God, comprising, in the most finished compendium, things to come, many, various; near, intermediate, remote; the greatest, the least; terrible, comfortable; old, new; long, short; and these interwoven together, opposite, composite; relative to each other at a small, at a great, distance; and therefore sometimes, as it were, disappearing, broken off, suspended, and afterwards unexpectedly and most seasonably appearing again. In all its parts it has an admirable variety, with the most exact harmony, beautifully illustrated by those very digressions which seem to interrupt it. In this manner does it display the manifold wisdom of God shining in the economy of the church through so many ages. His servants - Much is comprehended in this appellation. It is a great thing to be a servant of Jesus Christ. This book is dedicated particularly to the servants of Christ in the seven churches in Asia; but not exclusive of all his other servants, in all nations and ages. It is one single revelation, and yet sufficient for them all, from the time it was written to the end of the world. Serve thou the Lord Jesus Christ in truth: so shalt thou learn his secret in this book; yea, and thou shalt feel in thy heart whether this book be divine, or not. The things which must shortly come to pass - The things contained in this prophecy did begin to be accomplished shortly after it was given; and the whole might be said to come to pass shortly, in the same sense as St. Peter says, The end of all things is at hand; and our Lord himself, Behold, I come quickly. There is in this book a rich treasure of all the doctrines pertaining to faith and holiness. But these are also delivered in other parts of holy writ; so that the Revelation need not to have been given for the sake of these. The peculiar design of this is, to show the things which must come to pass. And this we are especially to have before our eyes whenever we read or hear it. It is said afterward, Write what thou seest; and again, Write what thou hast seen, and what is, and what shall be hereafter; but here, where the scope of the hook is shown, it is only said, the things which must come to pass. Accordingly, the showing things to come, is the great point in view throughout the whole. And St. John writes what he has seen, and what is, only as it has an influence on, or gives light to, what shall be. And he - Jesus Christ. Sent and signified them - Showed them by signs or emblems; so the Greek word properly means. By his angel - Peculiarly called, in the sequel, the angel of God, and particularly mentioned, #Rev 17:1|; 21:9; 22:6,16. To his servant John - A title given to no other single person throughout the book.
Re 1:1 The Vision of the Son of Man SUMMARY OF REVELATION 1: Preface. John to the Seven Churches. In the Spirit on the Lord's Day. The Revelation of the Son of Man. The Seven Stars and Seven Candlesticks. The Revelation. "Apocalypse", or uncovering, so the Greek word means. The curtain of the future is lifted. Of Jesus Christ. The revelation is made by Jesus Christ. See Re 6:1. Which God gave to him, to shew. See Re 5:1,2,7,9. He who sits on the throne gave to the Son the sealed book of the future to open it. Things which must shortly come to pass. The series of events began to unfold in a few years after John wrote, and has rolled on through all the centuries. Lange renders the Greek translated "shortly" by the phrase "in quick succession", which is nearly its meaning. It implies successive order. And he sent and signified [it]. The things "which must shortly come to pass". By his angel. Here, and throughout the Apocalypse the office of unveiling the different scenes appears to be assigned to a particular angel. See for example Re 4:1 21:9 22:1 22:8. Unto his servant John. A usual designation of the prophets. See Isa 49:5 Am 3:7 Re 19:10