The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass…
I. THE REVELATION, OR APOCALYPSE.
1. This sacred book is called the Revelation, or Apocalypse, to express its origin. It is the Word of the living God, given by Divine inspiration, and invested with Divine authority.
2. It is called the Apocalypse to express its nature. It gives a blessed manifestation of the character, counsels, and dealings of God.
3. It is called the Apocalypse, to express its object. There is an objective revelation of the character and will of God which is given in His Word; of the great plan of mercy which is given in the gospel; of the great events of Providence which are given in sacred prophecy.
4. It is called the Apocalypse, to express its subject. There is a subjective revelation experienced by the saint, consisting in the saving illumination of the Spirit (Matthew 11:25; Psalm 119:18).
5. It is called the Apocalypse, to express its great design. The word signifies to remove the veil that conceals an object from view.
6. There is, notwithstanding this glorious manifestation, considerable darkness resting on this book. It is denominated "The mystery of God." This obscurity arises from the depth of the counsels of heaven, from the symbolical language in which they are revealed, from the prophetical nature of the sacred book. But amid all the mystery with which it is enveloped, there is a light within the cloud to illuminate and cheer.
II. THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.
1. It is a revelation from Him as the great Author, and the great Medium, and the great Depositary, and the great Dispenser of Divine revelation, and all its hopes, promises, and blessings.
2. It is a revelation concerning Him as the great subject, the sum and substance of the glorious gospel.
3. It is a revelation through Him, as the medium of Divine communication, as the great Prophet and Teacher of the Church.
4. It is a revelation to Him as the great object, the end, the proprietor of the oracles of heaven. It is His — His own peculiar charge, ant His own Divine prerogative. In Him all the lines of Divine truth centre; from Him all the beams of its glory irradiate; to Him all the prophets gave witness.
III. THE GREAT DESIGN OF THIS SACRED CHARGE.
1. The nature of this design. It is "to show." This partially explains the word "revelation," which is to make manifest what was before concealed. It also explains the word "signified," which is to show verbally, in plain language; or symbolically, by signs or symbols.
2. The persons to whom this design is made known. They are "servants" — the servants of God, by a devout and voluntary surrender of themselves. They are not only servants, but they are kings and priests. To these distinguished servants God's holy will is given. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.
3. The objects revealed.
4. The time of fulfilment — "Things that must shortly come to pass."(1) This may be viewed personally, as referring to ourselves as individuals. The time of our departure is at hand. "Lord teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom."(2) It may be viewed generally. The time is at hand with regard to the Church, and the end of the world, and the day of judgment.
(3) It may be viewed comparatively. The time is short when we view it in connection with eternity.
(4) It may be viewed progressively with respect to the nature, the order, and arrangement of Divine operation — the time is at hand.
5. As the message was important, so the messenger was honourable: "He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John."(1) The message, and how it was delivered. He signified and testified, or showed it; He made it manifest by plain words, direct testimony, and by signs or symbols (Hosea 12:10).
(2) The person that sent — "He sent." God the Father sent His angel to His servant John. The Lord Jesus sent His angel: I, Jesus, sent Mine angel to testify to you these things in the Churches.
(3) The messenger sent was "His angel." All the holy angels are His by creation, providence, electing love, confirming grace, and sacred office. But some He selects for distinguished services.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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: