Revelation 1:1-2

Before we quote the first verse of this book of Revelation, we must remember that “no scripture of prophecy is of its own interpretation…” and that “the sum of thy word is Truth.”

Rev 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:

Rev 1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

2Pe 1:20  Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private [ Greek, idios, its own] interpretation. (KJV)
2Pe 1:20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture at all is becoming its own explanation.(CLV)

So the prophecies of this book, the book of Revelation, are not of their own interpretation. They must be understood in the light of all the rest of the prophecies of scripture. In fact the very first verse tells us that this entire book is “sign ified,” and the significance of every symbol in this book must be understood only in the light of the rest of scripture. We are simply not at liberty to guess and speculate about the symbols of this book. Nor are we permitted to guess what parts are signified.

I had a very esteemed brother once ask me, ‘What parts of Revelation do you think are symbolic?’  At that time he was very grateful when I told him that according to verse one, the entire book has been signified, and the entire book is written in symbols and proverbs and parables.

The sum of thy word is truth, and signifies that truth

That is the nature of all scripture. Not one word of prophecy “is of its own interpretation,” but is rather all sign ifying some deeper spiritual truth. That applies to virtually every story and every historical event recorded in God’s Word. That is why these verses are so true:

Psa 119:160  The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever.
1Co 10:11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [ Greek, tupos, types]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

As hard as it is for us to believe, the Old Testament scriptures were never intended to be understood as a mere history lesson. It is all to be taken as spiritual admonitions. The events recorded in the Old Testament did not happen for the sake of the people of that time, nor were they even written for the people of the Old Testament. They are all types and lessons for us. They all “signify” us:

1Pe 1:12  Unto whom [ the Old Testament patriarchs and prophets] it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

But “signified” words hide from the multitudes their real meaning while leading the multitudes to believe they understand. For example Christ made this statement:

Joh 12:32  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Joh 12:33  This he said, signifying what death he should die.
Joh 12:34  The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?
Joh 12:35  Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
Joh 12:36  While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
Joh 12:37  But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:
Joh 12:38  That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?
Joh 12:39  Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,
Joh 12:40  He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with [ their] eyes, nor understand with [ their] heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.

“They could not believe.” That is the effect of “signified” words. The Jews knew that Christ had said he must die, but they did not know what was the significance of His death. That is why they said, “We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, the Son of man must be lifted up?” Christ speaks only in parables:

Mat 13:34  All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:

That is a profound statement which should settle, once and for all, the question of whether the story of Lazarus and the rich man is a parable; “without a parable spake He not unto them.”

This book of Revelation is a book of parables. What is the purpose for speaking in parables? The reason, which I have pointed out so many times, is:

Mat 13:11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. [ the multitudes of believers in Christ]
Mat 13:12  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Mat 13:13  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
Mat 13:14  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
Mat 13:15  For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, a nd should be converted, and I should heal them.
Are the parables still functioning as they were intended?

Are the parables and significations of the gospels and the book of Revelation still to this day accomplishing their assigned and intended purpose of keeping the multitudes from “seeing with their eyes, hearing with their ears, understanding with their hearts, being converted and healed?”

I will let the esteemed Christian scholar, Mr Clark, the author of Clark’s Commentary of The Bible, answer that question when he is commenting on the symbols of the book of Revelation, as quoted above: “These things I must leave to others.” Ask any minister or Sunday school teacher why Christ spoke in parables. Obviously the parables of Christ are still functioning very well.

Here is what Barnes Bible Commentary has to say about these verses in Mat 13. He comes as close as anyone to understanding the purpose of the parables, but not even Mr. Barnes can admit that God had purposely “sent an evil spirit” to blind the eyes and harden the hearts of the multitudes of Christ’s disciples:

“He therefore chose to state the doctrines so that if their hearts had been right, and if they had not been malignant and blind, “they might have understood them.” His doctrines he stated in the best possible way, and it was not his fault if they did not understand him. By little and little, in this way, he prepared many even of the Jews to receive the truth; by the only possible way of ever gaining access to their minds. It was, moreover, entirely proper and right to impart instruction to his disciples which he did not “intend” for others.”

1Ki 22:23  Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

Even Mr. Barnes fails to acknowledge that these were “Jews which believed on Him.”

Joh 8:31  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:40  But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.

Joh 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Who is “this generation?”

Whether it is Mr. Barnes or you or me, whoever reads these words of this prophecy, and is granted eyes to see and ears to hear, will come to acknowledge that the first Adam in him is capable of all the sins which have ever been committed “in Adam.” On the other hand anyone who thinks that “your father the devil” does not, and never has had any personal application, that person is denying that he will ever “look behind” him to see that he did indeed lose his first love, and become “of his father the devil.” Here are some very powerful verses which will help us to see how we all “live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” and are “guilty of the blood of all the prophets.”

Eph 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Luk 11:51  From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

Again, “this generation” is anyone of any generation “who reads and understands.”

Mar 13:14  But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:

These words were not addressed exclusively to those who were alive in the first days of the church. “He that reads and understands” knows that the abomination that makes desolate” is set up in the temple of God, “which temple ye are.” He also knows that “this generation… and ye are the temple of God” would be being read by many thousands more down through the years since Christ’s appearance in the flesh.

1Co 3:16  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [ that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

All revelation is given only by “the Father.” Unless “the Father reveals it unto you” and me, those parables will have and are having their assigned and intended affect upon us also. If on the other hand “the Father reveals it unto us,” He will do so through our “searching the scriptures daily to see whether these things be so.”

Mat 16:17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [ it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Act 17:11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

“Our Father in our heaven, has us search the scriptures daily to see whether these things be so.” The false doctrine of ‘fullness now,’ needs no such assurance, and is consequently devoured by their own vanity and presumptuousness. ‘Fullness now’ is the opposite end of the pendulum which teaches that ‘keep’ means be careful not to keep.’

What all of this means for us is that every word of this book is to be seen simply as part of “the sum of thy word.” We must never make the mistake of thinking that when John uses the phrase ‘this prophecy’ or ‘this book,’ he is speaking exclusively of the book of Revelation. Such is not the case. John’s gospel reveals that the apostle John was already well aware of the relation of Jesus Christ as the Word of God.

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Joh 1:2  The same was in the beginning with God.
Joh 1:3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

This book of Revelation simply “bears record ” to the rest of the Bible. It is simply an integral capstone part of “the sum of thy word,” and is never to be taken as “its own explanation,” but is to be understood as being explained by “bearing record of the [ rest of the] word of God.” So it takes the book of Revelation to complete God’s Word, and it takes the rest of scripture to understand revelation.

The Father has given this revelation of Jesus Christ to Christ, who in turn “bears record of all of the word of God, the testimony of Jesus Christ and of all the things he saw” and gives it to John and to you and to me (Rev. 1:1). What does “the testimony of Jesus Christ” signify? As always, we are told what that means:

Rev 19:10  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, 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.

“The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy,” and it “keeps the words of this prophecy.”

Rev 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.

… and again at the end of this prophecy:

Rev 22:7  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Both of these verses only confirm these words of Christ:

Mat 24:15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, ( whoso readeth, let him understand🙂

Mat 23:36  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
Mat 24:33  So likewise ye, when ye shall see [ and understand] all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
Mat 24:34  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

It is “whoso reads and understands” who comprises “this generation” in every generation of men since Christ. It is “whoso reads and understands” who will “keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book” in every generation since Christ.

Why are we told “the time is at hand… Behold I come quickly… this generation shall not pass till all these things shall be fulfilled?” All of these statements are true in every generation since Christ for this one reason:

Jas 4:13  Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
Jas 4:14  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Our life “is even a vapor that appears for a little time.” That is why “this generation shall not pass till all these things shall be fulfilled” means that in every generation since Christ there has been a small remnant who live by,”every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God,” as this verse proves:

Luk 11:49  Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and [ some] of them they shall slay and persecute:
Luk 11:50  That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
Luk 11:51  From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

While we have not yet finished  the first two verses of this first chapter, we have seen that “the sayings of the prophecy of this book” is not a reference to the book of Revelation exclusively, but is a reference to the sum of God’s Word. We have seen that the parables of Christ, including, and especially the book of Revelation, are still to this very day, accomplishing their assigned and intended function of signifying what are the mysteries of the kingdom of God, thereby keeping the multitudes of  “those… who believe on Him,” from seeing, hearing or understanding those mysteries.

Finally we have also seen that “the time is at hand… and this generation” are both phrases signifying the fact that God’s elect are in every generation that “reads and understands… the sayings of the prophecy of this book,” that reads and understands all the parables, without which Christ, to this day, does not speak. We have seen that “I come quickly,” and “things which must shortly come to pass,” is true in every generation simply because the lives of every generation are but “a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”

Next week we will cover, among other things, the scriptural meaning of “keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”>

Other related posts