Revelation 1:1
"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:"

Reference Materia

BACKGROUND:

  • The Revelation combines two literary forms, epistolary and apocalyptic. The parallel messages addressed directly to the seven individual churches are not actual, separate letters, but together compose an introductory section -- a sort of covering letter admonishing the recipients to study carefully the second part, the Apocalypse proper, which is cast in the symbolical form. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches" (Revelation 2:7). Yet the entire book is a message to the entire church. And the seven messages, although literal to their original readers, were also obviously symbolical of the universal church as represented by these local churches.... The Apocalypse, meaning the uncovering of that which is concealed, was written under symbolic figures. This was partly in order that enemies might not understand it, because they are described as being judged and destroyed whereas the Christians are to be delivered. But the message is for all time, comforting in the last days. It uncovers the future, comforting both the sufferers under Domitian and those of subsequent ages, predicting the course of both political and ecclesiastical empire, of apostasy in the church, of the revival of truth, and the glorious final triumph of Christ and righteousness. (Froom 87-88)
  • The Apocalypse is twofold not only in form but also in meaning and application. It was never regarded as restricted to the seven literal congregations in John's former field of labor. They were recognized as representing the whole church in both space and time. The Revelation is given by Christ for the benefit of "His servants" (Revelation 1:1), "he that readeth, and they that her the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein" (Revelation 1:3) are blessed without qualification; and "he that hath an ear, let him hear" (Revelation 2:7) is of universal application. Furthermore, the various lines of prophecy carry the reader down through the ages to the second coming of Christ, and the new heavens and earth. (Froom 88)
  • Through the later centuries the long-range view of the Revelation has often obscured in the reader's mind the original impact of the book on John's contemporaries. It is inconceivable that an inspired revelation could be addressed specifically to certain contemporary groups without having a definite meaning for its recipients. Yet the fact of an immediate significance or fulfillment does not exclude the more remote, or subsequent, application, for there are other prophecies of a dual nature. (Froom 88-89)
  • Jesus gave such a twofold revelation a few days before His crucifixion. His answer to the disciples' double question concerning the destruction of the temple and the end of the world, was a double prophecy which combined the signs of the two events so that it is often difficult to disentangle them (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21). Certainly the fact that certain of the conditions were applicable to some extent in both situations, or that Jesus' hearers did not understand the twofold meaning, did not invalidate either view.... The early Christians understood a double application of the prophecy of Antichrist, for although John assured them that there were many Antichrists in his time (1 John 2:18 and 1 John 4:3), yet they looked for the supreme manifestation of Antichrist as still in the future.... The Preterist finds only the contemporary meaning of the Revelation as applicable to the early church, and the Futurist sees the prophecy as projected into a remote age to come, but the Historicist sees that the Revelation had its function first in counseling and encouraging the early Christians in the vicissitudes through which they were passing, while at the same time extending its prophetic pictures beyond their rage of vision to the final victory. Otherwise its portrayal of the second advent, the judgment, and the kingdom of God have no meaning for our day. (Froom 89)
  • Later chapters will show that the early readers of the Apocalypse saw in most of the symbolism the shadow of imperial Rome [and later Papal Rome] of course. The woman seated on seven hills was unmistakable, and in the beast they saw the imperial persecuting power, which they sometimes tried to identify as an individual emperor. Although they were not too clear on the details at times, they saw plainly the issue between Christ and paganism: and the promises to the overcomer and the prospect of the coming of Christ in victory strengthened them to withstand the persecutions.... Although later Christians were to see a lengthening vista in the apocalyptic prophecies, it was no more to be expected that the original recipients of the book should see the later phases than that the disciples should understand the distinction between the immediate and the future applications of Christ's double prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world. (Froom 91)

"The Revelation"

  • Greek "apokalupsis" or unveiling.... "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" may be thought of as John's own title to the book. This title categorically denies the charge that the Revelation is a sealed book and thus cannot be understood. It contains a message God purposed that His "servant" on earth should "hear" and "keep." (Revelation 1:3). This they could not do unless they first understood it. (7BC 728)
  • The book of the Revelation opens with the announcement of its title, and with a benediction on those who give diligent heed to its solemn prophetic utterances... The translators of the King James Version of the Bible have given this book the title, "The Revelation of St. John the Divine." In this they contradict the very first words of the book itself, which declare it to be "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." Jesus Christ is the Revelator, not John. John is but the penman employed by Christ to write out this Revelation for the benefit of His Church. John is the disciple of Jesus who was beloved and highly favored among the twelve. He was evangelist and apostle, and the writer of the Gospel and the epistles which bear his name. To his previous titles must now be added that of prophet; for the Revelation is a prophecy, and John so denominates it. But the content of this book has its origin in a still higher source. It is not only the Revelation of Jesus Christ, but it is the Revelation which God gave unto Him. It comes first from the great Fountain of all wisdom and truth, God the Father; by Him it was communicated to Jesus Christ, the Son; and Christ sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John. This is expressed in one word, "Revelation." A revelation is something revealed or made known, not something hidden and concealed. Moses tells us that "the secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever." (Deuteronomy 29:29). The very title of the book, then, is a sufficient refutation of the opinion sometimes expressed that this book is among the mysteries of God, and cannot be understood. Were this the case, it should bear some such title as "The Mystery" or "The Hidden Book," certainly not "The Revelation." (US 339)
  • The first sentence in the last book of the Bible calls the book "The Revelation of Jesus Christ...." The book is not a "hiding" or a "mystery".... The underlying Greek word is apocalypsis, from which we get Apocalypse... the word apocalypsis means a "disclosure," an "uncovering," a "revelation." ...in the Bible Apocalypse is a revealing of Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation provides behind-the-scenes accounts of what Jesus has been doing, is now doing, and will do in the future on behalf of (His people). (MM 67)
  • The professed Christian world has had opportunity to obtain light and knowledge, but many close their eyes lest they shall see. Well-educated, intelligent men preach at the Word and round the Word, but they do not touch its inner meaning. They do not present truth in its genuine simplicity. These men, regarding themselves as authority, tell their hearers that it is not possible to understand either Daniel or the Revelation. Many ministers make no effort to explain the Revelation. They call it an unprofitable book to study. They look upon it as a sealed book, because it contains the truth in figures and symbols. But the very name that has been given to it—“Revelation”—is a denial of their suppositions. The Revelation is a sealed book, but it is also an open book, recording marvelous events that are to take place in the last days of this earth's history. Its teachings are definite, not mystical and unintelligible, and God would have us understand it. (Signs of the Times article "The Importance of the Word", January 11, 1899)
  • The close study of Daniel's visions and warnings is essential. The first words of the Revelation mean, not a book closed, but a book opened. Where did John get the light? Did it originate with the aged disciple?—No. “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: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein” (Revelation 1:1-3). (19MR 166)
  • The whole Bible is a revelation; for all revelation to men comes through Christ, and all centers in Him. God has spoken unto us by His Son, whose we are by creation and by redemption. Christ came to John exiled on the Isle of Patmos to give him the truth for these last days, to show him that which must shortly come to pass. Jesus Christ is the great trustee of divine revelation. It is through Him that we have a knowledge of what we are to look for in the closing scenes of this earth's history. God gave this revelation to Christ, and Christ communicated the same to John.... John, the beloved disciple, was the one chosen to receive this revelation. He was the last survivor of the first chosen disciples. Under the New Testament dispensation he was honored as the prophet Daniel was honored under the Old Testament dispensation.... The instruction to be communicated to John was so important that Christ came from heaven to give it to His servant, telling him to send it to the churches. This instruction is to be the object of our careful and prayerful study; for we are living in a time when men who are not under the teaching of the Holy Spirit will bring in false theories. These men have been standing in high places, and they have ambitious projects to carry out. They seek to exalt themselves, and to revolutionize the whole showing of things. God has given us special instruction to guard us against such ones. He bade John write in a book that which should take place in the closing scenes of this earth's history (Manuscript 129, 1905).... Many have entertained the idea that the book of Revelation is a sealed book, and they will not devote time and study to its mysteries. They say that they are to keep looking to the glories of salvation, and that the mysteries revealed to John on the Isle of Patmos are worthy of less consideration than these. But God does not so regard this book.... The book of Revelation opens to the world what has been, what is, and what is to come; it is for our instruction upon whom the ends of the world are come. It should be studied with reverential awe. We are privileged in knowing what is for our learning.... The Lord Himself revealed to His servant John the mysteries of the book of Revelation, and He designs that they shall be open to the study of all. In this book are depicted scenes that are now in the past, and some of eternal interest that are taking place around us; other of its prophecies will not receive their complete fulfillment until the close of time, when the last great conflict between the powers of darkness and the Prince of heaven will take place (The Review and Herald article "What the Revelation Means to Us" August 31, 1897; 7BC 953-954)
  • The solemn messages that have been given in their order in the Revelation are to occupy the first place in the minds of God's people. Nothing else is to be allowed to engross our attention. (8T 302)
  • To the apostle John on the Isle of Patmos were revealed the things which God desired him to give to the people. Study these revelations. Here are themes worthy of our contemplation, large and comprehensive lessons which all the angelic host are now seeking to communicate. Behold the life and character of Christ, and study His mediatorial work. Here is infinite wisdom, infinite love, infinite justice, infinite mercy. Here are depths and heights, lengths and breadths, for our consideration. Numberless pens have been employed in presenting to the world the life, the character, and the mediatorial work of Christ, and yet every mind through which the Holy Spirit has worked has presented these themes in a light that is fresh and new. (6T 59)
  • The book of Revelation must be opened to the people. Many have been taught that it is a sealed book; but it is sealed only to those who reject light and truth. The truth it contains must be proclaimed, that people may have an opportunity to prepare for the events which are so soon to transpire. The third angel's message must be presented as the only hope for the salvation of a perishing world. (Ev 195-196; Letter 87, 1896)
  • The perils of the last days are upon us, and in our work we are to warn the people of the danger they are in. Let not the solemn scenes which prophecy has revealed be left untouched. If our people were half awake, if they realized the nearness of the events portrayed in the Revelation, a reformation would be wrought in our churches, and many more would believe the message. We have no time to lose; God calls upon us to watch for souls as they that must give an account. Advance new principles, and crowd in the clear-cut truth. It will be as a sword cutting both ways. But be not too ready to take a controversial attitude. There will be times when we must stand still and see the salvation of God. Let Daniel speak, let the Revelation speak, and tell what is truth. But whatever phase of the subject is presented, uplift Jesus as the center of all hope, “the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright and morning Star.” (Revelation 22:16) (TM 118)
  • The book of Revelation, in connection with the book of Daniel, demands close study. Let every God-fearing teacher consider how most clearly to comprehend and present the Gospel that our Saviour came in person to make known to His servant John,—“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.” None should become discouraged in their study of Revelation because of its apparently mystical symbols. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand.” We are to proclaim to the world the great and solemn truths contained in the book of Revelation. Into the very designs and principles of the church of God these truths are to enter. There should be a closer and more diligent study of this book, a more earnest presentation of the truths it contains, truths which concern all who are living in these last days. All who are preparing to meet their Lord should make this book the subject of earnest study and prayer. It is just what its name signifies,—a revelation of the most important events that are to take place in the last days of this earth's history. John, because of his faithful trust in the word of God, and the testimony of Christ, was banished to the Isle of Patmos. But his banishment did not separate him from Christ. The Lord visited His faithful servant in his banishment, and gave him instruction regarding what was to come upon the world. (The Signs of the Times article "Our Great Treasure-House" July 4, 1906)
  • The end of all things is at hand. We are to give more diligent searching to Revelation. Here is a book opened for those who shall live in these last days of time. Daniel and Revelation are the books applicable to us, and should be carefully studied, with much prayer. (18MR 275)
  • Truth and error are both in the field, striving for the mastery. The champions of truth will have a fierce conflict. “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12). The warning comes, and the directions are repeated, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13). All that the Lord has told you, it devolves on you to do. No one need be deceived, if he will make the word of God his study. How little is the book of Revelation studied! It is a hidden mystery to the religious world; and why?—Because the events not pleasant for consideration, are so faithfully traced by the prophetic pen; and people who are in any way troubled about the matter are soothed by their shepherds, with the statement that the Revelation cannot be understood. But it is to be understood; for it especially concerns us who are living in these last days. (Read Revelation 1:1-3). “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Read the last chapter of Revelation carefully and prayerfully. What significance there is in the statements of this chapter! “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Revelation 22:13-14). “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:16). This is the most effectual teaching that can be given in the church built for the Sanitarium, and this testimony is to be given in all the churches. Wherever there is an opportunity to reach the people, the attention should be called from the earthly to the heavenly. “And the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17). We are to voice the words of the angel. (SpT No.7, 52-53)
  • Again I ask, In view of the revelation made to John on the Isle of Patmos, which from the opening of the first chapter to the close of the last chapter is light, great light, revealed to us by Jesus Christ, who chose John to be the channel through whom this light was to shine forth to the world—with such wonderful, solemn truths revealed, with such grand truths unfolded before us in the events to transpire just prior to the second appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, how can those who claim to see wondrous things out of the law of God, be found in the list of the impure, of the fornicators and adulterers, constantly evading the truth, and secretly working out iniquity? Do you think that they can hide their ways from the Lord? that God seeth not? that God taketh no knowledge? (TM 433-434)
  • The word revelation means all that the definition of the word would signify, and this is the title of the last book of the Bible. A thing revealed is not a thing eclipsed and placed in obscurity and mystery. When a matter is unfolded, the mystery is opened. This book is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:1-3). (13MR 59)
  • This revelation was given for the guidance and comfort of the church throughout the Christian dispensation. Yet religious teachers have declared that it is a sealed book and its secrets cannot be explained. Therefore many have turned from the prophetic record, refusing to devote time and study to its mysteries. But God does not wish His people to regard the book thus. It is “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.” “Blessed is he that readeth,” the Lord declares, “and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:1, 3). “I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.” (Revelation 22:19-20).... In the Revelation are portrayed the deep things of God. The very name given to its inspired pages, “the Revelation,” contradicts the statement that this is a sealed book. A revelation is something revealed. The Lord Himself revealed to His servant the mysteries contained in this book, and He designs that they shall be open to the study of all. Its truths are addressed to those living in the last days of this earth's history, as well as to those living in the days of John. Some of the scenes depicted in this prophecy are in the past, some are now taking place; some bring to view the close of the great conflict between the powers of darkness and the Prince of heaven, and some reveal the triumphs and joys of the redeemed in the earth made new.... Let none think, because they cannot explain the meaning of every symbol in the Revelation, that it is useless for them to search this book in an effort to know the meaning of the truth it contains. The One who revealed these mysteries to John will give to the diligent searcher for truth a foretaste of heavenly things. Those whose hearts are open to the reception of truth will be enabled to understand its teachings, and will be granted the blessing promised to those who “hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” (Revelation 1:3).... In the Revelation all the books of the Bible meet and end. Here is the complement of the book of Daniel. One is a prophecy; the other a revelation. The book that was sealed is not the Revelation, but that portion of the prophecy of Daniel relating to the last days. The angel commanded, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4). (AA 583-585)
  • God's plan for future ages was revealed to John. The glories of heaven were opened before his enraptured vision. He saw the throne of God, and heard the anthems of joy resounding through the heavenly courts. As we read his description of what he saw in his vision, we long to stand with the redeemed in the presence of God. Half a century had passed since Jesus ascended to present His church before God, and to prepare mansions for His faithful ones. He still loved His people; for He came to His aged servant to reveal to Him God's plans for the future. (7BC 955)
  • Our lesson for the present time is, How may we most clearly comprehend and present the gospel that Christ came in person to present to John on the Isle of Patmos,—the gospel that is termed “the revelation of Jesus Christ”? We are to present to our people a clear explanation of Revelation. We are to give them the word of God just as it is, with as few of our own explanations as possible. No one mind can do this work alone. Although we have in trust the grandest and most important truth ever presented to the world, we are only babes, as far as understanding truth in all its bearings is concerned. Christ is the great teacher, and that which He revealed to John, we are to tax our minds to understand and clearly to define. We are facing the most important issues that men have ever been called upon to meet. (GW 29)
  • In the past teachers have declared Daniel and the Revelation to be sealed books, and the people have turned from them. The veil whose apparent mystery has kept many from lifting it, God's own hand has withdrawn from these portions of His word. The very name “Revelation” contradicts the statement that it is a sealed book. “Revelation” means that something of importance is revealed. The truths of this book are addressed to those living in these last days. We are standing with the veil removed in the holy place of sacred things. We are not to stand without. We are to enter, not with careless, irreverent thoughts, not with impetuous footsteps, but with reverence and godly fear. We are nearing the time when the prophecies of the book of Revelation are to be fulfilled. (TM 113)
  • The Old Testament reveals Christ in prophecy; the gospels reveal Him in His earthly life, ministry, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension; the Acts and the Epistles reveal the early triumphs of the church under the ministry of His Holy Spirit. In the Revelation Christ is pictured in glory at the right hand of God as the High Priest and Minister of the heavenly sanctuary. He is also pictured as the Supreme Judge before whom all nations must appear. The final scenes depict the Saviour as King of kings and Lord of lords reigning forever over the saints in Paradise restored.... Revelation... was written not for the world, but for the church, for the servants of God... "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but He revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7) (RAA 3-5)
  • "A revelation": such is the actual meaning of the word apocalypse. In other words it is an uncovering or a disclosure. The writers of the New Testament employ the expression eighteen times. It refers either to the revelation of divine secrets (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 14:6, 26)... or to the glorious manifestation of Christ and the saved on the day of the restoration of all things (2 Thessalonians 1:7; Romans 8:19).... Jesus Christ is both the author and the subject of the revelation. Christ gives the revelation and announces the prophecy. it comes to Him directly from God, whose faithful and true witness He is.... in the overall context of the book, Jesus Christ is also the subject of the revelation. Here, as elsewhere in the Scriptures, the spirit of God bears witness to Jesus Christ - no longer He who came in the flesh and was crucified, but He who was raised from the dead, who ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God's throne, who lives forever and ever, and who will return on the clouds of heaven. Jesus is truly the central figure of the whole book and the main subject of each of the visions. (JRZ 9)

"of Jesus Christ" (Matthew 1:1)

  • In Greek, as in English this phrase may be understood as declaring the Apocalypse to be either a revelation from Jesus or one that reveals Him, or both at the same time. The Revelation is, in fact, complementary to the Gospels. The Gospels recorded Jesus' ministry on earth while the Revelation reveals The context seems to imply that the former interpretation is the primary one here, for it is the revelation "which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants." At the same time the truth of the second meaning must not be overlooked, for this book is pre-eminently one that reveals Jesus in His heavenly work after the ascension. In this sense the Revelation is, in fact, complementary to the Gospels. They record Jesus' ministry on earth; the Revelation reveals His work in the plan of redemption since that time. (Revelation 19:10). (Matthew 1:1). (7BC 728)
  • Through nature, through types and symbols, through patriarchs and prophets, God had spoken to the world. Lessons must be given to humanity in the language of humanity. The Messenger of the covenant must speak. His voice must be heard in His own temple. Christ must come to utter words which should be clearly and definitely understood. He, the author of truth, must separate truth from the chaff of man's utterance, which had made it of no effect. The principles of God's government and the plan of redemption must be clearly defined. The lessons of the Old Testament must be fully set before men. (DA 34)
  • Christ was as much man's Redeemer in the beginning of the world as He is today. Before He clothed His divinity with humanity and came to our world, the gospel message was given by Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, and Noah. Abraham in Canaan and Lot in Sodom bore the message, and from generation to generation faithful messengers proclaimed the Coming One. The rites of the Jewish economy were instituted by Christ Himself. He was the foundation of their system of sacrificial offerings, the great antitype of all their religious service. The blood shed as the sacrifices were offered pointed to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God. All the typical offerings were fulfilled in Him. (COL 126)
  • By coming to dwell with us, Jesus was to reveal God both to men and to angels. He was the Word of God,—God's thought made audible. In His prayer for His disciples He says, “I have declared unto them Thy name,”(John 17:26) —“merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”(Exodus 34:6) —“that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:26). But not alone for His earthborn children was this revelation given. Our little world is the lesson book of the universe. God's wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which “angels desire to look,” (1 Peter 1:12) and it will be their study throughout endless ages. (DA 19)

" which God gave unto Him"

  • Since the entrance of sin all communication between heaven and earth has been through Christ. (PP 366) (7BC 728)

"to shew unto his servants"

  • Early Christians commonly referred to themselves thus. (7BC 728)
  • His servants - who are they? For whose benefit was the Revelation given? Was it to be for any specified persons, for any particular churches, for any special period of time? No, it is for all the church in all time, as long as any of the events predicted within the book remain to be accomplished. It is for all those who can claim the appellation, "His servants," whereever or whenever they may live... God says that this prophecy was given to reveal coming events to His servants, yet many of the expositors of His word tell us that no man can understand it! This is as if God would undertake to make known to mankind important truths, yet fall into the worse than earthly folly of clothing them in language or in figures which human minds could not comprehend! It is as if He would command a person to behold some distant object, and then erect an impenetrable barrier between him and the object! Or as if He would give His servants a light to guide them through the gloom of night, yet throw over that light a pall so thick and heavy that not a ray of its brightness could penetrate the obscuring folds! How men dishonor God who thus trifle with His word! No; the Revelation will accomplish the object for which it was given, and "His servants" will learn from it the "things which must shortly come to pass," and which concern their eternal salvation. (US 340)
  • The work outlined in these scriptures is the work before us. The terms “My servant,” “Israel,” “the Lord's servant,” mean anyone that the Lord may select and appoint to do a certain work. He makes them ministers of His will, though some who are selected may be as ignorant of His will as was Nebuchadnezzar. (9T 138)
  • There is nothing more precious in the sight of God than His ministers, who go forth into the waste places of the earth to sow the seeds of truth, looking forward to the harvest. None but Christ can measure the solicitude of His servants as they seek for the lost. He imparts His Spirit to them, and by their efforts souls are led to turn from sin to righteousness. (AA 369-370)

"things which must shortly come to pass"(Daniel 10:21)

  • In one way or another the thought that the various events foretold in the book of Revelation were to take place in the not distant future is specifically stated seven times: Revelation 1:1 and Revelation 22:6: "things which must shortly come to pass or be done"; Revelation 1:3 "the time is at hand"; Revelation 3:11 and Revelation 22:7, 12, 20 "Behold, I come quickly"... John's personal response to these declarations of the soon accomplishment of the divine purpose was, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Revelation 22:20). The concept of the imminence of the return of Jesus is thus both explicit and implicit throughout the book.
    • The second coming of Christ is the great climatic event of the age-long conflict between good and evil that began when Lucifer challenged the character of government of God. Statements in the Revelation and elsewhere concerning the imminence of Christ's return must be understood against the background of this great conflict. God might justly have annihilated Lucifer when, in obdurate impenitence, he persisted in rebellion. But divine wisdom deferred the extermination of evil until the nature and results of sin became fully apparent to the inhabitants of the universe (PP 41-43). At any one of various critical points in the history of this world, divine justice could have proclaimed, "It is done!" (Revelation 21:6) and Christ might have come to inaugurate His righteous reign. Long ago He might have brought to fruition His plans for the redemption of this world. As God offered Israel the opportunity to prepare the way for His eternal kingdom upon the earth, when they settled the Promise Land and again when they returned from their exile in Babylon, so He gave the church of apostolic times the privilege of completing the gospel commission. Another such opportunity came with the great second advent awakening of the 19th century. But in each instance God's chosen people failed to take advantage of the opportunity thus graciously accorded them.
    • Encouraged by inspired counsel, the Advent Movement, after 1844, expected Christ to come very soon. When, toward the end of the century, Jesus had not appeared, the Advent believers were repeatedly reminded that the Lord might come "ere this" (6T 450; 8T 115-116; 9T 29; DA 633-634; GC 458). When challenged as to why time had continued longer than her earlier testimonies seemed to indicate, Ellen G. White replied, "How is it with the testimonies of Christ and His disciples?... The angels of God in their messages to men represent time as very short... It should e remembered that the promises and threatenings of God are alike conditional" (EGW in F. M. Wilcox, The Testimony of Jesus, p.99)
    • Thus it seems clear that although the fact of Christ's second coming is not based on any conditions, the repeated statements of Scripture that the coming was imminent were conditional on the response of the church to the challenge of finishing the work of the gospel in their generation. The Word of God, which centuries ago declared that the day of Christ was "at hand" (Romans 13:12), has not failed. Jesus would have come very quickly if the church had done its appointed work. The church had no right to expect her Lord when she had not complied with the conditions. (Ev 694-697).
    • Thus the statements of the angel of Revelation to John concerning the imminence of Christ's return to end the reign of sin are to be understood as an expression of divine will and purpose. God has never purposed to delay the consummation of the plan of salvation, but has ever expressed His will that the return of our Lord be not long delayed.
    • These statements are not to be understood in terms of the foreknowledge of God that there would be so long a delay, nor yet in the light of the historical perspective of what has actually taken place in the history of the world since that time. God foreknew that the coming of Christ would be delayed some two thousand years, but when He sent messages to the church by the apostles He couched those messages in terms of His will and purpose with regard to that event, in order to make His people conscious of the fact that, in the divine providence, no delay was necessary. Consequently, the seven statements of the Revelation concerning the nearness of Christ's coming are to be understood in terms of God's will and purpose, as promises conditionally set forth, and not as utterances based on divine foreknowledge. In this fact, doubtless, is to be found the harmony between those passages that exhort to readiness for the soon coming of Christ and those time prophecies that reveal how far ahead lay the actual day of the Lord. (7BC 728-729)
  • When Revelation 1:1 and Revelation 1:3 speaks of things that "must shortly come to pass" and "the time is at hand," it is referring to the beginning of the fulfillment of the predictions found in the book. In John's day these prophecies were straining at the leash, eager to get started on their long journey through history. Daniel, we found, was shown a series of prophecies each of which began in his own day and ran parallel to each other through history. In Revelation also, several lines of prophecy follow a similar parallel course from John's day to the end. (MM 70)
  • The Bible was designed to be a guide to all who wish to become acquainted with the will of their Maker. God gave to men the sure word of prophecy; angels and even Christ Himself came to make known to Daniel and John the things that must shortly come to pass. Those important matters that concern our salvation were not left involved in mystery. They were not revealed in such a way as to perplex and mislead the honest seeker after truth. Said the Lord by the prophet Habakkuk: “Write the vision, and make it plain, ... that he may run that readeth it.” (Habakkuk 2:2). The word of God is plain to all who study it with a prayerful heart. Every truly honest soul will come to the light of truth. “Light is sown for the righteous.” (Psalm 97:11). And no church can advance in holiness unless its members are earnestly seeking for truth as for hid treasure.... "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: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw." (Revelation 1:1, 2). The whole Bible is a revelation; for all revelation to men comes through Christ, and all centers in Him. God has spoken unto us by His Son, whose we are by creation and by redemption. Christ came to John exiled on the Isle of Patmos to give him the truth for these last days, to show him that which must shortly come to pass. Jesus Christ is the great trustee of divine revelation. It is through Him that we have a knowledge of what we are to look for in the closing scenes of this earth's history. God gave this revelation to Christ, and Christ communicated the same to John. John, the beloved disciple, was the one chosen to receive this revelation. He was the last survivor of the first chosen disciples. Under the New Testament dispensation he was honored as the prophet Daniel was honored under the Old Testament dispensation. The instruction to be communicated to John was so important that Christ came from heaven to give it to His servant, telling him to send it to the churches. This instruction is to be the object of our careful and prayerful study; for we are living in a time when men who are not under the teaching of the Holy Spirit will bring in false theories. These men have been standing in high places, and they have ambitious projects to carry out. They seek to exalt themselves, and to revolutionize the whole showing of things. God has given us special instruction to guard us against such ones. He bade John write in a book that which should take place in the closing scenes of this earth's history (7BC 953-954).
  • In the Revelation are portrayed the deep things of God. The very name given to its inspired pages, “the Revelation,” contradicts the statement that this is a sealed book. A revelation is something revealed. The Lord Himself revealed to His servant the mysteries contained in this book, and He designs that they shall be open to the study of all. Its truths are addressed to those living in the last days of this earth's history, as well as to those living in the days of John. Some of the scenes depicted in this prophecy are in the past, some are now taking place; some bring to view the close of the great conflict between the powers of darkness and the Prince of heaven, and some reveal the triumphs and joys of the redeemed in the earth made new. (AA 584)
  • It was the Lion of the tribe of Judah who unsealed the book and gave to John the revelation of what should be in these last days. (TM 115)

"and He sent and signified it" (Daniel 8:16)

  • Greek "semaino" or "to indicate by a sign" or "to announce" or "to reveal" or "to make known" or "to explain." (7BC 730)
  • To the worker for God the record of these angel visits should bring strength and courage. Today, as verily as in the days of the apostles, heavenly messengers are passing through the length and breadth of the land, seeking to comfort the sorrowing, to protect the impenitent, to win the hearts of men to Christ. We cannot see them personally; nevertheless they are with us, guiding, directing, protecting. (AA 152-153)
  • I was carried back to the days of the disciples and was shown that God had a special work for the beloved John to accomplish. Satan was determined to hinder this work, and he led on his servants to destroy John. But God sent His angel and wonderfully preserved him. All who witnessed the great power of God manifested in the deliverance of John were astonished, and many were convinced that God was with him, and that the testimony which he bore concerning Jesus was correct. Those who sought to destroy him were afraid to attempt again to take his life, and he was permitted to suffer on for Jesus. He was falsely accused by his enemies and was shortly banished to a lonely island, where the Lord sent His angel to reveal to him events which were to take place upon the earth and the state of the church down to the end—her backslidings and the position which she should occupy if she would please God and finally overcome. The angel from heaven came to John in majesty, his countenance beaming with the excellent glory of God. He revealed to John scenes of deep and thrilling interest in the history of the church of God and brought before him the perilous conflicts which Christ's followers were to endure. John saw them passing through fiery trials, made white and tried, and, finally, victorious overcomers, gloriously saved in the kingdom of God. The countenance of the angel grew radiant with joy and was exceeding glorious, as he showed John the final triumph of the church of God. As the apostle beheld the final deliverance of the church, he was carried away with the glory of the scene and with deep reverence and awe fell at the feet of the angel to worship him. The heavenly messenger instantly raised him up and gently reproved him, saying, “See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10). The angel then showed John the heavenly city with all its splendor and dazzling glory, and he, enraptured and overwhelmed, and forgetful of the former reproof of the angel, again fell to worship at his feet. Again the gentle reproof was given, “See thou do it not for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.” (Revelation 22:9). (EW 230-231)
  • The connection of the visible with the invisible world, the ministration of angels of God, and the agency of evil spirits, are plainly revealed in the Scriptures, and inseparably interwoven with human history. There is a growing tendency to disbelief in the existence of evil spirits, while the holy angels that “minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrew 1:14) are regarded by many as spirits of the dead. But the Scriptures not only teach the existence of angels, both good and evil, but present unquestionable proof that these are not disembodied spirits of dead men. (GC 511)

"by his angel" (Daniel 9:21; Luke 1:19, 26; Revelation 10:19)

  • Greek "aggelos" or "messenger." Angels frequently function as bearers of divine revelations (Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21; Luke 1:19; Luke 1:26). The present angel has been identified as Gabriel (Luke 1:19). (7BC 730)
  • Christ sent and made known the Revelation to John by "His angel." A particular angel seems to be brought to view here. What angel could appropriately be called Christ's angel. We found an answer to this question in our study, as well be seen in the comments on Daniel 10:21. From that study we concluded that the truths to be revealed to Daniel were committed exclusively to Christ, and to an angel whose name was Gabriel. Similar to the work of communicating important truth to the "beloved prophet" is the work of Christ in the book of the Revelation - transmitting important truth to the "beloved disciple." Who in this work can be His angel but the one who was engaged with Daniel in the former work of prophecy, that is, the angel Gabriel? It would also seem most appropriate that the same angel who was employed to carry messages to the "beloved" prophet of ancient times, should perform the same office for the prophet John in the gospel age. (US 340-341)
  • It was Gabriel, the angel next in rank to the Son of God, who came with the divine message to Daniel. It was Gabriel, “His angel,” whom Christ sent to open the future to the beloved John; and a blessing is pronounced on those who read and hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things written therein. (DA 234)
  • The words of the angel, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God,” show that he holds a position of high honor in the heavenly courts. When he came with a message to Daniel, he said, “There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael [Christ] your Prince.” (Daniel 10:21). Of Gabriel the Saviour speaks in the Revelation, saying that “He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John” (Revelation 1:1). And to John the angel declared, “I am a fellow servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets" (Revelation 22:9 R.V.). Wonderful thought—that the angel who stands next in honor to the Son of God is the one chosen to open the purposes of God to sinful men. (DA 99)

"unto his servant John" (Mark 3:17)

  • That is, John the apostle (Mark 3:17). The Revelation is the only book by John the Apostle in which he identifies himself by name. (2 John 1; 3 John 1). (BC 730)
  • The disciple John was the youngest of the sons of Zebedee. Like their father, he and his brother James were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.... When John the Baptist began preaching in the wilderness of Judea, John joined the crowds who went out to hear him and was deeply affected by his teachings. When John heard the announcement, "Behold the Lamb of God," he immediately set out to talk to Jesus, who invited him to be one of His disciples (John 1:36; John 1:37). After a time, John returned home to his fishing, but when Jesus called him again, he left his father, his boats, and his nets, and never again looked back (Matthew 4:21; Luke 5:1-11). He became one of three disciples who were closest to Jesus and was referred to as "the disciple that Jesus loved" (John 13:23; Mark 5:37; Mark 13:3; Matthew 17:1; Matthew 26:37). (KC 14)
  • When Christ was arrested, while the other disciples fled (John 18:15), it was John and Peter who followed Him afar off. John was acquainted with a member of the high priest's family, making it possible for him to follow Jesus into the council chamber (John 18:16, 19, 28), on to the Praetorium (governor's residence), and finally, to the place of His crucifixion (John 19:26, 27). (KC 14-15)
  • On the morning of Christ's resurrection, Mary first told John and Peter that she had seen Him (John 20:2), causing them to run and see if it was true. Following instructions by the angel at the tomb, they returned to the Sea of Galilee, remembering Christ's promise to meet them there (John 21:1, 7)... Through the work of Peter and John, the infant Christian church was established (Acts 3:1; 4:13). John ministered in Jerusalem as one of the elders of the church (Acts 15:6; Galatians 2:9), later moving to Ephesus, where he carried on an active ministry. After giving special attention to the seven churches of Asia Minor (Revelation 1:11), the Roman authorities tried to silence his voice by banishing him to the Isle of Patmos (Revelation 1:9). Later, in about 98 A.D., John returned to Ephesus where he died, having outlived all of Jesus's other disciples. (KC 15)
  • When John was old and gray-headed, he was given a message to bear to the persecuted churches. The Jews made several attempts to take his life, but the Lord said: “Let him live. I who created him will be with him and will guard him.” Constantly this aged disciple bore testimony for the Master. In beautiful language, with a musical voice, speaking in a way that impressed the hearts of all who heard him, he told of the words and works of Christ. He was sent as an exile to Patmos, but Christ visited him in his exile, and communicated to him the grand truths found in the Revelation. As those who have spent their lives in the service of God draw near the close of their earthly history, they will be impressed by the Holy Spirit to recount the experiences they have had in connection with His work. The record of His wonderful dealings with His people, of His great goodness in delivering them from trial, should be repeated to those newly come to the faith. The trials also that have been brought on the servants of God by the apostasy of some once united with them in labor, and the working of the Holy Spirit to make of none effect the falsehoods told against those who were holding the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end, should be related. (7T 288)
  • John is distinguished above the other apostles as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” (John 21:20). He seems to have enjoyed to a pre-eminent degree the friendship of Christ, and he received many tokens of the Saviour's confidence and love. He was one of the three permitted to witness Christ's glory upon the mount of transfiguration and His agony in Gethsemane, and it was to his care that our Lord confided His mother in those last hours of anguish upon the cross. (AA 539)
  • When the persecutors of John, the beloved disciple, sought to still his voice and destroy his influence among the people, they exiled him to the Isle of Patmos. But they could not separate him from the Divine Teacher. On lonely Patmos, John could study the things that God had created. In the rugged rocks, in the waters that surrounded the island, he could see the greatness and majesty of God. And while he was communing with God, and studying the book of nature, he heard a voice speaking to him, the voice of the Son of God. Jesus was John's teacher upon the Isle of Patmos, and He there unfolded to His servant wonderful things that were to take place in time to come.... God would have us appreciate His blessings in His created works. How many children there are in the crowded cities that have not even a spot of green grass to set their feet upon. If they could be educated in the country, amid the beauty, peace, and purity of nature, it would seem to them the spot nearest heaven. In retired places, where we are farthest from the corrupting maxims, customs, and excitements of the world, and nearest to the heart of nature, Christ makes His presence real to us, and speaks to our souls of His peace and love. (FE 423-424)
  • In view of the testimony of Inspiration, how dare men teach that the Revelation is a mystery beyond the reach of human understanding? It is a mystery revealed, a book opened. The study of the Revelation directs the mind to the prophecies of Daniel, and both present most important instruction, given of God to men, concerning events to take place at the close of this world's history.... To John were opened scenes of deep and thrilling interest in the experience of the church. He saw the position, dangers, conflicts, and final deliverance of the people of God. He records the closing messages which are to ripen the harvest of the earth, either as sheaves for the heavenly garner or as fagots for the fires of destruction. Subjects of vast importance were revealed to him, especially for the last church, that those who should turn from error to truth might be instructed concerning the perils and conflicts before them. None need be in darkness in regard to what is coming upon the earth.... Why, then, this widespread ignorance concerning an important part of Holy Writ? Why this general reluctance to investigate its teachings? It is the result of a studied effort of the prince of darkness to conceal from men that which reveals his deceptions. For this reason, Christ the Revelator, foreseeing the warfare that would be waged against the study of the Revelation, pronounced a blessing upon all who should read, hear, and observe the words of the prophecy. (GC 341-342)
  • As a witness for Christ, John entered into no controversy, no wearisome contention. He declared what he knew, what he had seen and heard. He had been intimately associated with Christ, had listened to His teachings, had witnessed His mighty miracles. Few could see the beauties of Christ's character as John saw them. For him the darkness had passed away; on him the true light was shining. His testimony in regard to the Saviour's life and death was clear and forcible. Out of the abundance of a heart overflowing with love for the Saviour he spoke; and no power could stay his words. (AA 555)
  • Richly favored was this beloved disciple. He had seen his Master in Gethsemane, His face marked with the blood drops of agony, His “visage ... marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” (Isaiah 52:14). He had seen Him in the hands of the Roman soldiers, clothed with an old purple robe and crowned with thorns. He had seen Him hanging on the cross of Calvary, the object of cruel mockery and abuse. Now John is once more permitted to behold his Lord. But how changed is His appearance! He is no longer a Man of Sorrows, despised and humiliated by men. He is clothed in a garment of heavenly brightness. (AA 582)
  • ...although the author is Christ, the inspired penman is "His servant John," and exile on the island of Patmos. (Froom 86)