Revelation - Chapter 1

Revelation – Chapter 1

For the first chapter of Revelation, we will go through each verse almost one by one. As usual with all of my articles, I will use other verses in the Bible and a few outside references to help with the interpretation of each passage. Let’s get to it!

Servants

The opening passage in Revelation is as follows:

Revelation 1:1-3 – A revelation of Jesus Christ, that God gave to him, to shew to his servants what things it behoveth to come pass quickly; and he did signify [it], having sent through his messenger to his servant John, who did testify the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, as many things also as he did see. Happy is he who is reading, and those hearing, the words of the prophecy, and keeping the things written in it – for the time is nigh! (YLT)

The first verse says that this book is an unveiling of Jesus Christ Himself and events to come to His servants. We already talked about how the word revelation is better translated as unveiling in the last article. Now let’s touch on the servant part of the verse. To a causal reader, this verse may make the book of Revelation seem like a special prophetic book. However, this is a theme that is repeated elsewhere in the Bible. Take a look at the laws for a servant in Exodus:

Exodus 21:2-6 – ‘When thou buyest a Hebrew servant – six years he doth serve, and in the seventh he goeth out as a freeman for nought; if by himself he cometh in, by himself he goeth out; if he [is] owner of a wife, then his wife hath gone out with him; if his lord give to him a wife, and she hath borne to him sons or daughters – the wife and her children are her lord’s, and he goeth out by himself. ‘And if the servant really say: I have loved my lord, my wife, and my sons – I do not go out free; then hath his lord brought him nigh unto God, and hath brought him nigh unto the door, or unto the side-post, and his lord hath bored his ear with an awl, and he hath served him – to the age. (YLT)

This law says that a servant is to go free after six years of service. However, if the servant wanted to continue serving his master after the six years, he declared this by nailing his earlobe to the door. As usual, the master is symbolic of Christ and the servant is symbolic of Christians. Choosing to continue serving the master over freedom symbolizes having the desire and heart to serve Christ over having our own house, spouse, and kids. Knowledge of Christ should be our number one priority, even if it means we sacrifice everything else. This theme can be better understood through these verses:

Matthew 7:7 – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (NIV)

Psalm 40:6-8 – Sacrifice and offering you did not desire – but my ears you have opened – burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, “Here I am, I have come – it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart.” (NIV)

The famous verse in Matthew “knock and door will be opened to you” actually has a specific meaning. It is not saying that God will give you anything you ask for. It is specifically referring to pursing the knowledge and wisdom of Jesus. Psalms mentions opening of the ears to hear and understand God’s word and do His will. Notice the similarities between the verses. Exodus speaks of nailing his ear and Psalms speaks of opening the ear. Exodus mentions the door of the master’s house and Matthew mentions knocking on the door. This was done on purpose, because God’s word is consistent. Perhaps the most famous verse of being a servant is in John:

John 13:12 – When, therefore, he washed their feet, and took his garments, having reclined (at meat) again, he said to them, ‘Do ye know what I have done to you? (YLT)

Jesus washed his disciples feet and told them to do the same. So as we can see, this theme of servitude is used throughout the Bible not because we should be literal servants, but because we should have the hearts of servants, both in our relationships with each other, and in our relationship with God.

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